SHARE
A poet visits campus this week. Ellen Bryant Voigt | Courtesy

“Meter” may just be another word asso­ciated with poems and “syntax” a sim­i­larly obscure term, but reading Ellen Bryant Voigt’s latest poems gives these words a fuller under­standing, if not a new meaning. As this semester’s second vis­iting writer through the English department, Voigt will be deliv­ering a lecture entitled, “Lost and Found: On Randall Jarrell and the Use of Rep­e­tition,” tonight at 8 p.m. in Dow Rooms A & B. This follows a reading of her work last night. 

Author of eight volumes of poetry, including the recipient of the Poets’ Prize 2008 and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, “Mes­senger: New and Selected Poems,” Voigt has a long list of works and achieve­ments.

John Somerville, pro­fessor of English and director of the Vis­iting Writers Program, wanted to invite Voigt, whom he con­siders “a con­tem­porary poet of great dis­tinction,” to campus prior to this semester. 

“I was, needless to say, delighted when she agreed to a visit this fall,” Somerville said. “My hope now is that many members of our com­munity will take this oppor­tunity to attend her reading and lecture, and in doing so to enjoy her great gifts as a writer and inter­preter of poetry.” 

For those looking for a crash course of her work ahead of her lecture, The New Yorker’s Poetry Podcast fea­tures a couple of her poems. Both “Cow” and “Bear” come from her most recent work, “Head­waters,” which has no punc­tu­ation and con­sists of poems in con­nection to animals. In “Cow,” appearing in April 2014’s podcast, the last three lines read, “what he needs I think is some­thing truly free of mind / a slab of earth by way of cow by way of fire the surface charred / the juices running pink and red on the white plate.” Concise and sensory, Voigt’s unique meter relies on rep­e­tition of words, slightly slowing yet never stopping until sud­denly there are no more.