HU’s annual Read-In

Noa Cadet | Staff Writer

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Flickr User Fredrik Rubensson

The end of the semester is drawing ever nearer, but there is no stop to the interesting action on campus.

April 9 marked the date of the annual Read-In, hosted by the School of Liberal Arts and Education. Since 1988, the School of Liberal Arts and Education has organized this event to focus on the arts, while bringing the community together by inviting writers and poets such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Tayari Jones to campus.

This year, Hampton University invited renowned poet and Virginia native Tim Seibles to read from his poetry collection, One Turn Around the Sun.

This poetry collection is Seibles’ way of connecting to his family and his roots. In a quote from Seibles taken from Hampton University’s Office of Relations’ event description, he marks his stance on poetry as:

“I think poetry, if it’s going to be really engaging and engaged, has to be able to come at the issues of our lives from all kinds of angles and all kinds of ways: loudly and quietly, angrily and soothingly, with comedy and with dead seriousness. Our lives are worth every risk, every manner of approach.”

Each of Seibles’ poems speaks to the different times in his life and how his upbringing and his parents shaped his thinking. From the womb, to his relationship with his father, to dealing with aging, Seibles expresses a vulnerability and a sense of emotion that not many are willing to share. Before reading each poem, Seibles spoke to help the audience understand his frame of reference and the way he tied the poems to his life.

The poem “Ode To Your Mother” is a hypothetical frame of thinking, if infants could think and wonder in the womb. Seibles wrote this piece as a way of respect to his mother, and how life starts with the woman, and how his mother had influenced him from the beginning.

In his next poem, “Ode to Your Father,” Seibles spoke of his experiences and memories of his father, and how the man’s reserved mannerisms influenced his son as both a boy and as a man. Finally, Seibles reflected on his life as he ages, and how he, as he nears his 60th birthday, has finally come to be aware of his age. His words were deep, emotional and powerful to hear.

“I appreciated the wisdom and knowledge that his poetry brought to the festival,” said Marcus Ramos, a Hampton University freshman cybersecurity major from Suffolk, Virginia. “His refined voice made his delivery even more powerful.”

Moniquia Brown, an HU freshman biology pre-med major from the Bronx, New York, added: “His use of allegory and figurative language to describe the struggles of his life as an African American man was admirable. I was enamored with the way he was able to truly capture struggle with his words.”

Seibles’ work, and his captivating delivery, allowed his listeners April 9 to truly reflect on their lives and to see the ways people around them have helped each one of them to reach where they are today.

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