WILLIMANTIC, CT (10/17/2017) Written by Jordan Corey
Daniel Donaghy, English professor at Eastern Connecticut State University and published author of five poetry collections, has always hoped to launch a national poetry magazine at Eastern. And now, it's here, literally.
"Here" features 18 contributors, and to celebrate its first issue, Donaghy orchestrated two release readings. Speaking to the piece as a whole, he said, "'Here' bears witness to the human experience in all of its sorrows and glories."
In addition to several Eastern students, seven "Here" poets partook in the first reading on Sept. 28, including Harry Humes, Jonathan Andersen, Charles Fort, Kileen Gilory, John Stanizzi, Joan Seliger Sidney and Pegi Deitz Shea. Their poems covered varying facets of their personal lives, incorporating genuine experiences and providing real-world commentary in the process. Many of the writers delivered thoughtful stories to give the audience insight, strengthening the meaning behind each piece. Fort, for instance, revealed something that changed his life forever - the sudden death of his wife.
Fort's wife was a dancer, he explained, and the two of them had always collaborated on artistic pieces, with her choreographing dances to his poetry. She was diagnosed only 40 minutes before the last performance she ever gave. Her absence became a focal point of Fort's writing. "I remember waking up in the night thinking she was next to me," he said, introducing his poem "Pathétique."
Sidney is another writer who draws on details from her life in her writing. She is known for addressing the Holocaust, which her parents survived, and writing about living with multiple sclerosis. At the reading, Sidney talked about her time spent in Grenoble, France, and witnessing a girl named Anne Ruaud, the namesake for one of the poems she chose to read. Sidney told the audience that Ruaud went to school with her children and long suffered as a result of the societal pressure put on women to look a certain way. The poem describes her eating disorder and eventual deterioration.
On the night of the second release reading on Oct. 5, students, poets and poetry lovers alike united once again to commemorate "Here." Contributors in attendance included Sidney, Steve Straight, Fort and Stanizzi. While that evening the same rawness seen the first time around was present, the poets touched more deeply on today's intense social and political climate.
Straight spoke on current affairs, saying, "I think the future of the world really depends on the individual actions of people … how people treat each other." His poem, "The Future of the World, Part 2: Youth," confronts this idea and the conflicted nature of someone who is unsure whether or not to have faith in society.
Both "Here" readings ultimately emphasized the importance of human connectedness, staying attuned to what is happening in the world and reworking heartfelt emotions into poetry, which have the power to resonate with people on personal levels - as the journal itself does.
About Eastern Connecticut State University:
Eastern is the state of Connecticut's public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,400 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut's 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 29 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 65 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Eastern has been awarded "Green Campus" status by the Princeton Review seven years in a row. For more information, visit.