Love for literacy

30 days of poems

Ferris student and poet Robert Cohen takes the stage, showcasing creativity at the latest National Poetry Month Celebration’s Open Mic Night. Photo by: Taylor Davis | Torch Photographer

As the sky grew grey with the promise of rain outdoors, a small group of students gathered around the University Center fireplace near Starbucks for the National Poetry Month Celebration’s Open Mic Night Tuesday, April 2.

A podium sat in front of the fireplace, and between these two inanimate objects stood a very animated Ferris history senior Meg Corner. Corner read aloud two poems she wrote, titled “The Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Still.”

“My Michigan poetry tends to focus on the lore of the Great Lakes — shipwrecks and storms and the absolute fury that the water has. And I think it’s these frightful legends and the lyrical poetry that allows you to pack into a relatively short space, really,” Corner said.

Inspired by Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, National Poetry Month is celebrated year-round by the Academy of American Poets and is the largest literary celebration in the world.

“At Ferris, I began the celebration last year as an extension of my role as coordinator of the Literature in Person series in the English, Literature and World Languages department. I am a poet and my favorite genre to study and teach is poetry,” Ferris associate professor of English and Literature Dr. Deirdre Fagan said.

As the host of the Open Mic Night, Fagan worked with Ferris English junior Paige Brady to prepare the evening, both of whom participated in the event’s readings.

“A lot of people read their own stuff, which is always a wonderful thing to hear because it’s so vulnerable and can be a little terrifying reading your own stuff up where there is a mic in front of all these people,” Fagan said.

For Corner, she first learned about the event through the Ferris English Department’s Facebook page and was excited at the thought of participating in a poetry reading.

“I primarily focus on fiction. I like to write short stories and I’m trying to work on a novel,” Corner said. “Regarding my poetry, I just do it because it’s fun. I love capturing the Great Lakes especially. I think poetry is really suited for that, if you will.”

Corner first found her passion for writing after taking a creative writing class during her sophomore year for a general education course, but credits her family for influencing her writing as they introduced her to her interest in geo-political genres.

This led to Corner receiving her creative writing certicate, and she has since infused her passion for history and writing together as she works on her stories.

She expects to continue this as she enters grad school, where she will be working on her master’s in history.

“In my free time, I hope to be able to finish that novel I had mentioned or even just play around some more with poetry. It’s not my number one comfort zone, but I have a lot of fun with it,” Corner said.

This event was sponsored by Literature in Person and the English, Literature and World Languages Department. The event was held in celebration for National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

Students interested in written and spoken word can learn more about it through the creative writing course, certicate or minor, Ferris’ English Society, as well as online sources such as the Academy of American Poets, the Poetry Foundation and the Poets and Writers.