Writers House hosts student poets

The Daily Pennsylvanian
January 22, 1996

Photo by Betty Yuan/The Daily Pennsylvanian

Reading poems including "Ouch--Were You Wearing a Ring?" and "The Uncertainty Principle," student poets had the opportunity to show off their talent at the first Writers' House gathering of the semester.

The event, which approximately 50 people attended, featured published poet and first-year English graduate student Michael Magee. Several other students also read their work during an open-microphone session.

And although sex was not the spoken theme of the evening, more than a few poems alluded to the topic.

Magee appeared to rely on his personal experiences in writing his poetry. He grouped his first several poems as the "depression segment," which included more serious works. The next section incorporated more humor, "because the world is funny, and to pretend that it's not doesn't really work," Magee said.

Magee said he started writing poetry at the age of 17, "as a means of self-expression." He cited poets Robert Lowell, Frank O'Hara and Stephen Dunn as influences on his life and work.

Ten of Magee's poems were published last year in Spoon River Poetry Review and America magazine. Magee also serves on the Writers' House steering committee.

The Writers' House, located at 3805 Locust Walk, is part of the collegiate planning pilot program proposed last fall.

According to College senior and Writers' House Student Coordinator Shawn Walker, Friday's event gave students a taste of next year's full-scale programming. Poetry readings will be held regularly and various speakers will be invited to speak at Writers' House, Walker added.

She said one of Writers' House's purposes is, "to bring the creative writing community together into one physical space, so we can work together.

"I would like to have people at Writers' House who don't consider themselves as writers to realize that everyone is a writer," Walker said. "Hopefully this house will be sort of a non-intimidating area for people who like to write or read to gather as a community."

Walker and Magee also stressed that they want the Writers' House to provide a link between undergraduate and graduate students.

College junior Elliott Witney, who is on the Writers' House committee, likened the house to an "enlarged coffee shop."

"People can come in [and] do some of their own writing... in a nice, academically social environment," he said.