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Ecopoetry class offers workshop opportunity to advanced student poets

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“It’s about more than just environmental content, but thinking about ecology as a kind of model for the way in which poetic form emerges,” English professor Bill Kupinse said of his English 328: Advanced Poetry Writing class.

English 328 has been offered almost every semester for the past few years, challenging Puget Sound students to connect poetry to a particular theme. While past themes include spoken-word and found poetry, this year’s theme of ecopoetry encourages students to question the relationship between ecology and poetry.

Each week students submit a poem to be workshopped in a small-group or whole-class setting. Kupinse does not hold students to the theme of ecopoetry but instead offers “invitations” as creative suggestion from which poets can take inspiration.

“One invitation was ‘a poem you would like to see pasted on, attached to or appearing in place of the nutritional information on a food item in the grocery store.’ Ideally, this would make visible a hidden relationship,” Kupinse said.

The hidden relationship is up to the creative interpretation of the poet but could refer to hidden ingredients found in food or the negative processes involved in creating food.

Students interested in the advanced poetry writing class must have completed English 228, the introduction to writing poetry class, to enroll. While English majors and minors should be able to register for the class without a code, non-majors and minors must contact the professor in order to do so.

The English 328 students will be performing their poems at the Crosscurrents launch party on May 6. The event will be held at Honey at Alma Mater from 6:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event is free and all are encouraged to come get a copy of Crosscurrents and hear Puget Sound poets perform.

 

Sophomores Molly Weegar and Zeno Deleon Geurrero and junior Kate Threat are students in English 328 this semester. Each poet has used the class and Kupinse’s “invitations” in a unique and creative way.

Weegar, Geurrero and Threat each agreed to share one of their poems for this article, as an example of the type of poetic work that English 328 produces.

 

“Crayfish Omelets”

By Molly Weegar

 

One Saturday morning

we climbed in your green

pickup. Filled with discarded

moxie bottles and loose shotgun

shells.

We went to wade in the

crisp clear stream in

search of those elusive

freshwater crustaceans. Upturning rocks

making the stream cloud and

our feet disappear below the muck.

When you would declare with

christly pleasure there to be

enough in our buckets. We climbed

back into that green pickup

of yours back home.

Where we boiled and shelled

and you let me help beat

the eggs into a yellowy soup.

Then I watched your strong

back as you handled the

skillet with practiced ease.

Patiently waiting till you placed

the steaming plates filled with

the fruits of our labor

made with your love.

 

“Intimacy”

By Zeno Deleon Guerrero

 

you say you’re a ghost

but I can hold your hands

their soft dimples

cradling me

the waves of your fingertips

wash over mine

and erode the cracks

on my palms

so please don’t let go

the chill of your absence

will rip fractures

upon my hands

expose skin flesh and bone

to icy winds and sleet

my hands will crack and

dissolve into haunted

valleys of death

 

“Harvesting Song”

By Kate Threat

 

my baby lies deep

next to the river bed.

she swims in the dirt

and sings sweet songs

to the seeds.

 

can you hear her?

do you taste her lullabies

caked in love and flash

on your lips after you season her?

she never completely cooks away.

 

the roots lift easy,

over my baby.

she pushes them up one by one

and we never want

for any more than her.

 

my baby sleeps soundly

next to the river bed.

she dances on water,

and the watching petals

learn to fly.

 

can you see her?

do you feel her breath

on the broken winds

across the corn leaves?

she never completely cooks away,

she never completely cooks away.

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