English Department Hosts Annual Fall Poetry Reading

By: Tylaisha Davis and Anthony Medina

The english department hosted its Annual Fall Poetry Reading featuring works by students from Professor James Papa’s Advanced Poetry writing workshop on Monday, Nov. 14 2016.

Students and Faculty gathered in the African American Resource Center at 6 p.m. to hear sixteen students present their poetry. Presenters included Joshua Alvarado, Cassandra Anavitate, Fahmida Begum, Jabari Bruce, Nia Dorival, Ashley Heard, Adila Jahan, Janice Johnson, Tiffany Khan, Anthony Persaud, Geetanjali Sankar, Chereese Sheen, Karishma Sookraj, Marc Torres, Jed-Rene Tulia and Cesar Ventura.

Papa decided to host this event in the African-American Resource Center to create an artistic and creative environment. Heather Robinson, Chair of the English Department, joined the audience with professors Jonathan Hall, Phebe Kirkham, and Nathan Austin.

“Art is important because it gives us space to think through a problem without having to solve it,” said Robinson. “And poetry is important because it gives us structure within which we can think through those problems.”

Jabari Bruce, a journalism major in Papa’s Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop, recited his poem reflecting his experiences as an black male. Bruce decided to recite one of his poems to the class indifferent to three other students choose.  

“I wrote poems before, the poem I said today was from like a year ago. I have short poems also,” said Bruce. “Because I’m black, I should be speaking a certain way. I shouldn’t speak in a full grammatical sentences and speak correctly. It’s basically telling people that it’s just ignorance, it doesn’t matter; you could do what you want to do with however you talk. Don’t feed into the ignorance because you talk a certain way.”

Arggelys Gomez, a senior in Professor Austin’s course called Understanding Poetry, presented his poem titled 22 two’s. Jeffrey McDaniel’s poem, A Quiet World, and Jay Z’s song, 22 two’s, inspired Gomez to write his poem.

“Jay Z’s Song uses two 22 times,” said Gomez. “I flipped Jeffrey McDaniel’s song and structured it in a way of what happens when love doesn’t work out.”

Cesar Ventura, a junior and English Literature major, recited a poem unique to his experiences titled Living in a Basement Apartment. A fire in his apartment building in Brooklyn forced his family to move to Queens where they were forced to re-adjust.   

“I’ve been living in the same apartment in queens for more than half of my life,” said Ventura. “Probably 15 years, during those years I have had a bunch of experience from child’s play to what my mother did for me, to tragic life events.”

Professor Papa has contributed to the Annual Poetry Reading annually since around 1966 with all types of readers. This year’s reading stood out from the rest because students were highlighted as the main poets. Papa told Pandora’s Box that he’s satisfied with the students hard work.

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2 thoughts on “English Department Hosts Annual Fall Poetry Reading

  • December 9, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Professor Papa is not only a great teacher, but a great poet!

  • December 14, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Jabari Bruce: I was touched by your statement in this article. Keep on keeping on and have faith in yourself and in your abilities! Love this article, and I hope you continue to hold these Annual Poetry Readings. And, why not biannually:) Or, even a hard copy with all the poems shared during these events?


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