Poetry is, in most cases, related to true events in someone’s life or thoughts pertaining to someone’s life. In a poetry reading by John Hoppenthaler, an associate professor of creative writing and literature at East Caroline University, he presented a series of his own poems in an attempt to demonstrate how they can relate to his audience’s everyday lives and to persuade his audience to have a different outlook on life.
Hoppenthaler delivered his presentation, which was funded by Read Today, Lead Tomorrow..
Hoppenthaler said poetry is a way for him to express himself through the use of words. With poetry, he is also interested in maintaining a narrative and the “creative juices” over a long narrative art with characters and storylines.
To illustrate his argument, Hoppenthaler said: “A poem is like the inspiration of the moment most of the time, and for me, it just kind of works that way. That is the way my synapsis fires so I’m just better suited to writing poems.”
Hoppenthaler began writing poetry in 1982 and since then has written three books of poetry.
While Hoppenthaler wanted the audience to enjoy his poems he ultimately wanted them to leave with knowledge of what poetry is and for them to experience life from a different perspective.
“An assistant to Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison for nine years, he is now teaching and is on his way to a very successful career as a professor, poet, editor, and critic. We are very happy that he has come to read at Xavier and to speak to our students,” said Dr.Biljana Obradović, a professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana who attended the event.
Many students agreed that the messages and themes behind each poem made them re-evaluate themselves and how they can become better individuals.
“Poetry teaches life lessons and it represents social causes and struggles. It relates to certain things and it can also be a mood-changer,” said Kyle Wilcox, a graduate of Xavier who also attended the event. “I enjoyed the rhythm and the excitement from his poems. It’s like an art.”
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