Wesleyan Hosts Poetry Reading

Wilson Buckner, Features Reporter

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Award winning poet Angie Estes held a poetry reading on the Wesleyan campus on November 20th. The reading was funded by the Crago Britton Reading series and was followed by a Q&A session with Professor Connelly’s ENGL 3347: Poetry Workshop class.

Dr. Estes has won multiple awards. Her first book The Uses of Passion won the Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize in 1995. Her second book, Voice Over was awarded the Alice Fay di Castagnola Prize for 2001 from the Poetry Society of America and was awarded the 2001 FIELD Poetry Prize from Oberlin College Press. Other awards include a Pushcart Prize and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Her other books include Chez Nous published in 2005, Tryst published in 2009. Tryst was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for 2010.

Her most recent work is Enchantee, which was published in 2013. Stephen Burt of the Boston Review described the poetry in her work Enchantee as “some of the most beautiful verbal objects on the planet.”

Dr. Estes’ poetry shares personal experiences with the reader. She finds her interests appear in her poems in unpredictable ways. A recurring theme is the poet’s explanation of how ‘divine details’ also shape her poetry.

The poet explains that ‘divine details’ are the little things of ‘who people are and how their live their lives’ that have influenced the poet. The poet also uses the ‘divine details’ “of a life, of the world, of language” in her poetry that can “transport’ the reader to new places and help give the readers a more “vivid experience.” Her use of ekphastic poetry also helps create graphic visual imagery for the reader.

According to Estes, writing poetry is a never-ending process. Each poem is finely crafted with the effort and the skill that a ballet dancer would need to dance or a violinist or pianist to perform.

The poet’s love of travel and her “urgency to explore or read the world” are evident in poems, such as “Marcel Proust.” In describing her father strolling through Paris, buying croissants, then breakfasting at the “Ile Saint-Louis, where he can gaze across the Seine at the back of Notre Dame,” she creates a vivid mental picture of her father’s experience.

In the poem, “Almost Autumn,” she plants a visual image in your mind, creating a mental picture of the sound pecans would make as they drop from the tree onto a roof.

Estes’ visit to the Wesleyan campus was an exciting opportunity for students to learn from an award winning poet the poetry writing process and to engage in conversation with the poet.



Additional sources:

Rigby, Karen., “Means of Transport, Medieval Mind: Dialogue with Angie Estes.”, Cerise Press, A Journal of Literature, Arts, & Culture. Spring, 2010. Vol. 1 Issue 3.


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