Today: Jul 17, 2024

Connecticut students tour state, reading original poetry

RYAN FLYNNGeneral Assignment Reporter

Four talented young poets—each hand-picked by their respective colleges to join the Connecticut Poetry Circuit—read their work aloud Friday night. The event, hosted by Folio, was held in the fireplace lounge of the student center to a small crowd of Southern students and faculty.

Jared Coffin was the representative from Southern and also hosted the event on behalf of Folio, which is an annullly released undergraduate arts and literary magazine here at Southern.

“The main theme of my poetry is memory and war,” Coffin said. “I just completed a thesis exploring the concept of national memory, which is essentially how literature can form collective memories. So, most of my poems explore that. But, everybody writes about different stuff, so it’s pretty interesting.”

Southern accepts poetry entries every year, with one poet chosen for the state level competition.

Five poets are selected at this state level to tour Connecticut schools in the Connecticut Poetry Circuit.

Andrea Amulic, a senior English and psychology double major at Connecticut College was the first to share her work. She read aloud poems titled “Exhumed” and “Negative Capability” as well as two poems based upon imagined, dramatic monologues from members of her family.

Next came Jemel Nejaime, a student from Manchester Community College.

Nejaime’s first poem, “Blank Document,” was about how Nejaime looked to Norse mythology to deal with writer’s block.

“Heaven is nothing but a blinking black cursor on a blank document,” Nejaime read.

He also read a poem about his hyperactive dog, titled “O.C.D.O.G.” and one called “6 Months.” The latter was about a breakup and began with the line, “You, my dear, are a cold sore.”

Felicity Sheehy, a sophomore from Yale, took the podium next. She read a poem called “Binoculars” which described a picture she found of her mother when she was around Felicity’s current age. Another, called “Lockport,” was about a New York town near her home.

“The fireflies follow you up and down,” Sheehy read, “Turn on and off. Like promises.”

Coffin was the last to read from his poetry. He addressed the audience beforehand, thanking Professors Parrish and Shipley specifically.

“Being on the poetry tour has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Coffin told those in attendance.

Coffin read four poems, one of which was titled “Come Quick.” Coffin said this poem was essentially an exploration of the role the reader takes in a poem. “I Have a Solution to Oppression” was the final piece that Coffin read.

“If you’re wondering: I don’t,” Coffin told the crowd.

“I think my personal favorite,” Coffin said, “would be ‘My Father’s Chest.’ It’s about my father going to Vietnam and then I kind of deconstruct it and say that he didn’t actually go to Vietnam. So it kind of explores how poems can create their own realities.”

Coffin was finally awarded the chance to tour with the Connecticut Student Poets after submitting for three straight years. Coffin, who started writing short stories when he was just 8 years old, said that he hated poetry until he was sixteen.

“I had to write one for an assignment,” Coffin said, “and then I realized I actually kind of liked it.”

Folio hosts such readings from their own members on a monthly basis. Submissions to Folio are accepted each Fall in the categories of fiction, poetry, plays and memoirs, as well as artwork of all kinds.


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