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Poetry expresses love and its complexities

Love was in the air, and with strong emotion comes poetry.

As part of the Valentine’s Day festivities on Feb. 14, the English Honors Society teamed up with Sigma Tau Delta Sorority Inc. to host a poetry reading in Einstein Bros at 2 p.m. The groups invited various participants to read collections of love-themed poems from various poets.

Assistant Professor Kenneth Cervelli read a collection of 10 poems during the afternoon, including works from John Keats.

“It sounds like a gloomy start to love poetry,” Cervelli said as he began his presentation. “I wanted to read different expressions of love.”

Cervelli said deciding on which poems and sonnets to read was mostly due to instinct.

“They just sort of fell together, organically,” Cervelli said. “I tend to read a lot of old stuff. I like poets such as Shelly and Keats, stuff about reverence and love.”

Cervelli said he enjoys poetry because of its sense of community.

“Poetry not only celebrates it, but it engages you,” he said. “It draws you in, and it’s an opportunity for anyone to feel the power of language. It’s there for everybody.”

Aubrey Collins, Sigma Tau Delta president and a graduate English major, said the reading was a new, volunteer-based event.

“The professors chose the poems,” Collins said. “We approached people like professor Cervelli and asked them if they’d like to participate. This is the first time we’ve done an event like this, and we’d like to make it an annual tradition.”

Collins said people have a hard time understanding poetry in the modern day and said she wants to host more events like this to counter this confusion.

“Poetry is so distant and difficult for most people,” she said. “People don’t really think of modern poets. They think that’s all in the past. It doesn’t get enough attention.”

Collins said readings such as these are important because there is a difference between simply reading them as opposed to hearing them spoken.

“Reading and hearing are different things,” she said. “Sound is of ultimate importance. If you hear it, you can better understand it.”

Collins said she encouraged students to attend readings like this in the future, and to ignore the common perception poetry is too complicated to understand.

“Just come out,” Collins said. “The more you hear [poetry], the easier it becomes to understand. You just have to keep at it.”

To people who might be interested in studying or writing poetry of their own, Cervelli echoed Collins’ statement, encouraging prospective poets to continue exploring the art form.

“Find poems you love, and read more of them,” Cervelli said. “You first have to enjoy poetry. Then you have to appreciate the work that went into it. That’s how you get better at reading, and writing poetry.”

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