Poetry inspires students in academic lecture


Two poets regaled Franciscan University of Steubenville students and faculty on Friday, April 26, with their poems and personal stories.

James Matthew Wilson, a series editor for Colosseum Books published by Franciscan University of Steubenville Press, read several poems. One poem, “Autumn Road,” was written in the fall of 2016 during the U.S. presidential election, and it addressed the feelings of that time of year. “Laundry and James Tate” was another poem about an encounter of Wilson’s with the poet James Tate.

Wilson read a poem he wrote for Samuel Hazo, McAnulty distinguished professor of English emeritus at Duquesne University, the second featured poet. The first line asked, “How do you do it, Sam?” referring to Hazo’s ability to turn the seemingly insignificant into significant through his verse.

Following Wilson, Hazo stepped up to read selections of his writing. He prefaced his reading with the words, “I think poetry is essentially a gift. … It comes to someone from without so that when it is expressed, it is expressed cooperatively as much as creatively.”

The audience sat in enraptured silence as Hazo recited his work. Lines such as “the pure image of a dream is mine to swim” and “what is the present but a future the past made possible?” touched the listeners, playing upon their imaginations.

Sophomore Mariel Pugh commented on Hazo’s reading and presentation, saying, “I loved what he said about union. It is a theme that is always reoccurring in poems, and as Christians we always yearn to be reunited with our Creator.”

The event promoted Hazo’s text entitled “The World Within the Word: Maritain and the Poet,” published by Colosseum Books. In the work, Hazo compares the French philosopher Jacques Maritain’s writings with the works of several poets. Wilson penned the introduction for this work and said it was “one of the great delights” of his life.

Copies of this book along with several works by both poets are available at the Franciscan University bookstore.

This event was sponsored by the Franciscan University Press. It was the last Friday Academic Lecture of the semester.