Poets share passions at McDonough reading

Sara Khan writes poetry as a way to express herself. Photo by Henry Shorr / The Jambar

By C. Aileen Blaine

In the echoey depths of the first-floor gallery, poets and lovers of poetry alike gathered at the McDonough Museum of Art in celebration of National Poetry Month last Thursday. In an intimate gathering, writers had a space to share their thoughts, emotions and observations without fear of judgment.

The student artworks from the department of visual and dramatic arts added to the creative ambience. Museum director Claudia Berlinksi said the McDonough has a history of merging both visual and literary arts.

“I believe it’s a great idea to celebrate all of the arts when given the chance,” Berlinski said in a press statement. “National Poetry Month is the perfect opportunity to showcase some of our student poets in a campus setting devoted to the arts.”

The reading featured works from nine students who registered for the event. Each read three to five poems:

  • Anastasios Mihalopoulos
  • Trinity Hobbs
  • Hannah Misko
  • Riss Raley
  • Emilio Santiago
  • Samantha Sloan
  • Gyaneshwar Agrahari
  • Sara Khan
  • Anahni Harris

Riss Raley, a first-year communications major, said poetry and powerful words can be incredibly impactful, and it’s important that more people acknowledge this.

“To walk through the world and be able to be kind, passionate and well-spoken, well-thought — that saves lives in a way that a vet would or a doctor would, just with words as scalpels,” Raley said. 

Anahni Harris, a first-year linguistics major, said even though she was very nervous to read, in the end she felt very happy and excited to share her poems with the other creative minds. 

“It goes without saying that there’s a lot of creativity in this city,” she said. “This took a lot of courage, and I hope that anyone else that wants to share their story builds up the courage to do that.” 

Freshman biology major Sara Khan has been writing poetry from a young age, with one of her first works being about a wrecking ball. As a STEM major, she doesn’t get as much time to express herself creatively, so readings like the McDonough’s offer her an outlet for her words.

“Usually, with poetry, [my inspiration] comes in moments of high emotion, in times of sadness and happiness,” Khan said. 

Her culture and religion is also an important component to the themes she explores in her works. She said aspiring writers shouldn’t be afraid to call back to what inspires them on a personal level.

“If you’re ever willing to pursue poetry, make sure to also draw from the things that make you different — the things that make you special,” Khan said. 

Emilio Santiago, a senior vocal performance major, said he’s been writing poetry since middle school. Now, he likes to explore new themes and motifs in his writings.  His passion for sharing creative endeavors brought him to the McDonough reading. 

“I’ve always wanted to be able to do something like this,” he said. “I love making art to share the things that I make.”

Emily Vero, president of the YSU Poetry Club and integrated language arts sophomore, said she was impressed by the words shared with such passion and by the range of topics and themes.

“There’s so many artistic minds out there. I was just blown away by such a wide variety of poetry,” Vero said. “There’s these incredible poets — artists — around that are just living among you, and you don’t even know it.” 

Those who may be interested in sharing their poetry will have a chance with upcoming open mic events and sessions through the poetry club. The poetry club’s next meeting takes place at 6 p.m. April 26 in Kilcawley Center room 2016.