Hartford, Connecticut, February 22, 2017 – The Trinity College English Department will continue its Spring 2017 Allan K. Smith Reading Series on Wednesday, March 1, by welcoming five young poets, including Trinity’s Magge Nigro ’17. The poetry reading will be held in the Admissions and Career Development Center Grand Room at 4:30 p.m.
This event is organized by the Connecticut Poetry Circuit, which selects five students to recognize as Connecticut Student Poets each year. The honorees tour the state over the course of the spring semester, giving readings at Connecticut college campuses. Nigro, an English major in the creative writing track, is representing Trinity as a Connecticut Student Poet on the poetry reading tour this year. She is joined in this honor by Jonathan Esty of Yale University, Kelia Ingraham of the University of Hartford, Ian Mentus of Central Connecticut State University, and Yao Ong of Wesleyan University.
The following is a Q&A with Connecticut Student Poet Magge Nigro ’17 (right):
Q: When and how did you begin writing poetry?
A: For me, writing started with reading. I loved escaping from ordinary life and going on adventures. And eventually my love for reading turned into a desire to create that escape for someone else, to create a world that could be visited. I mostly wrote short stories and longer fiction pieces through high school and into college. Although, poetry was always a part of any creative writing class I took. It wasn't until [Associate Professor of English Ciaran M.] Berry’s Intro to Creative Writing class at Trinity where I really started to appreciate how artful poetry can be. He encouraged me to write it seriously. I took my first poetry workshop with him as well.
Q: How has Trinity’s English Department shaped and supported you as a writer?
A: The whole English Department is filled with fantastic people. They are some of the kindest, most knowledgeable and supportive people I've had the pleasure of knowing. The professors I’ve had here have taught me new ways of appreciating literature. I’ve been shocked by how, under their guidance, I’ve been able to take so much more away from a novel, a poem, or a short story than I ever have been able to before. They have renewed my fascination with writing and inspired me to want to express myself on the page more than ever. In particular, Professor Berry, [Assistant Professor of English Ethan] Rutherford, [Artist-in-Residence Clare M.] Rossini, and [Visiting Lecturer in English Daniel J.] Mrozowski have made me believe that I have something to say – something that’s worth writing. They have encouraged me to create, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Q: What kind of poetry do you write?
A: The poems I have written so far have all centered around small moments of interaction with other people, places, and animals. Small moments that dig into my head and keep nagging at me until I can find the words to write them down.
Q: How do you feel about doing public readings?
A: I have had very little practice speaking in public, and although I am incredibly nervous, I am also deeply honored that the contest judges – and the teachers and friends who have been so encouraging – think that my writing is worth being shared and read aloud, so I'm going to try and do my best for them!
The Spring 2017 Allan K. Smith Reading Series began with short story writer and novelist Laura van den Berg on February 15. Poet Carl Phillips will be welcomed on Wednesday, March 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the Grand Room at the Admissions and Career Development Center. Author Asali Solomon will present a reading on Thursday, March 30, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reese Room. Novelist Yelena Akhtiorskaya will conclude the series for the semester on Wednesday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the Grand Room. All readings are free and open to the public. A reception and book-signing will follow each event.
Each year, the English Department brings a range of fiction writers, poets, and nonfiction writers to campus through the Allan K. Smith Reading Series. Past readers include world-renowned literary figures such as Derek Walcott and Colm Tóibín, as well as up-and-coming stars such as Leslie Jamison and Sinéad Morrissey.
For more information, please contact Christina Bolio at (860) 297-2036.
Written by Molly Thoms ’17