An Enunciated Interest: Young Poets Read at their End-of-Year Performance

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
by Sarah Darwiche, Digital Media Intern

Dr. Nathaniel Mackey, the Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke and award-winning author of Splay Anthem, hosted an end-of-year poetry reading at The Shed Jazz Club on Thursday, April 27th. The reading gave student poets an opportunity to read their poetry aloud and to celebrate their work with friends, colleagues, and fellow members of the Duke poetry community.  

Ten undergraduate poets enrolled in the “Advanced Poetry Workshop” course were accompanied by two graduate students, with emcee duties for the evening fulfilled by Dr. Mackey.

Read a selection of the performed poems below.

A Room to Wait
by Amina Bility (T’17)
Now, more than ever I appreciate design.
How they make a coffin feel comfortable.
We pass from a fluorescent-lit hallway,
into a lamp-lit salon.
I see texture and feel the delicate
song of a wind chime
hanging next to the air-condition unit
of this windowless room.
The terror of local news is
reserved for dermatology.
We sit and watch Bonanza,
on a floral patterned couch.
I turn to my sister,
this could be grandma’s living room.
She nods, but the faces
of bleary-eyed strangers remind us
that this is, in fact, a public space.
And like at the deli or DMV,
Someone’s gonna call our number.
Quarter Century Middlescience
by Chelsea Reyes (T’17)
Hands, matches, an ashtray. A ritual beautiful and bitter.
-Samuel Beckett
1       Fusillade of sequenced emotion
        levels all discussion
        Tranquil defreconnaissance rescues
        The pilots trapped in inertia
2      Dig the caffeinated pinstripes
        coloring the people’s resolve
        their horse was never in the barn
        it ran through planks and hay to get out
3      Strangled metadata has chiefed old gods
        making technical assignments haram
        lucrative strongholds in Western ires
        match impeded chronologies of human interest
4      Captive eyes smothered in digital resonance
        facsimiles of triumphant moments of imagination
        singularities of memories escort us
        praising the archive of market succession

by Haley Enos (T’17)
  Find me
                   supine and dipping
     my toes in the spread-eagle sky.
           My mouth on the moon and her
                                      long-legged shadows.                                                                                   
  Give me
arch and quiver
                                      in the woods at night.
  I’ll vein the earth,
              thread ribbons of blood through her skin,
  I’ll give my breath
                 to her stone lungs
         if I have to,
                  pump her heart with my hands.
  When I am shot
                         with light, when I am
            blind, I’ll know
                                  myself wingless
                        and hollow, feel my insides
            pouring from my nose and my throat as
            the warm dark retreats.
  The day these trees start talking
                                                        we’re done for.