Poet of the Week Archive: October, 2006
October 30 – November 5, 2006: ASU Class
For the past seven weeks, I've had the honor and pleasure of serving as the Rachel Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University. My students have brought their diverse and accomplished poetic voices to my workshop, and I've been impressed by the quality of ASU's creative writing program. Because Halloween falls during my last week of that appointment, I asked these young poets to write some creepy Halloween poems to showcase their talent and help our readers get into the spirit of this holiday—the one I enjoyed most when I was a child.
Here you will find Becky Hallman's memorable re-creation of a visit to a haunted house, Josh James's take-off on the Puritan preacher Cotton Mather's famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," and Duncan Regan's memory of a police officer warning small children about the dangers of eating apples while trick-or-treating. Nathan Vish remembers a country Halloween, while Andrew Trump calls up Joseph Conrad's "the horror, the horror"! Matthew Barlowe's "The Nightwatch" eerily echoes Jim Morrison's song "Strange Days" of the 60's, and Amber Moore dreams a ghostly troop of ghouls coming to "pirate" her soul. To close out this feature, two of my young women poets take a different approach to the assignment. Amanda Fowler offers the difficult Welsh form of the englyn, a brief glimpse into the graveyard shift of a young woman in fishnet stockings, and finally Liz Ragin says, hey, that's enough of this dark, scary poetry! Here's an accentual jive tune for a guitarist friend, with which to dance All Hallows Eve away. —Kathryn Stripling Byer
PLUS: Online Halloween Treats from the Academy of American Poets: www.poets.org/goblin
Preteens Off a Tennessee Back Road
This wasn’t like the time
Becky Hallman is a senior in the creative writing program at Appalachian State University. She has been writing since before she could spell and hopes to pursue an MFA in poetry. Becky loves cats, white chocolate, and Francesca Lia Block novels.
A Note from Your Jealous God—Halloween Night
Joshua is an English major from Brunswick County, where he learned all he needed to know at Brunswick Community College. He expects to graduate from Appalachian State in May, 2007 and shortly after that attend Basic Training and Officers Candidate School with the U.S. Army.
Lessons for trick-or-treaters
As a young boy, in an assembly
Duncan Regan spent much of his early life preaching sermons to himself while riding his bicycle around the half-mile circular street he grew up on. For a while after that, his ambitions were of a political nature; however, these came to a screeching halt upon the insistence of a creative writing professor that he had "talent." That instance—coupled with multiple readings of “ Prufrock”—led to his decision to become a writer (or a professional waiter—same difference). The ramifications, positive or negative, of his decision have yet to be seen.
All-Hallows Eve North of Corbin
Come cool evenings in October
So each October, as the corn stubble
Hoppers full of Hodgdon Smokeless
Nathan Vish is a native of Asheville. A senior at Appalachian State University in mathematics and English, Nathan has enjoyed working with Kay Byer this semester as a student in the Rivers-Coffey Creative Writing Seminar. His literary inspirations have ranged from Robert Louis Stevenson and Shel Silverstei, to (more recently) Seamus Heaney and Frank Gaspar. Mathematically, Nathan's undergraduate focus has been in numerical sequences generated by automata. He hopes eventually to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, and to continue to research and write while living in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.
Andrew Trump has made his home in Boone for the past three years and enjoys swimming. He smokes more cigarettes than generally deemed healthy, yet finds his balance in reading Emerson and daydreaming. In May, Andrew will forsake the English language and commence a life filled with exaggerated gestures and intermittent Spanish somewhere south of the Texas border.
the sound of a moth
Marching row by row
Amber Moore says her title “The Composite” refers to what sororities call the collection of photos of their members. She is studying Spanish at ASU and her current favorite poet is Federico Garcia Lorca.
Her hips are smoke in drift, guiding soft circles
Amanda Fowler is a senior at Appalachian State University. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in English. Amanda, from Walnut Cove, N.C., has been writing poetry since high school. After she graduates in December, she plans to move close to Charlotte and marry in January.
If you want to
Liz Ragin has lived in New York City and Sacramento, California. She says, “I live to write, write to live, and everything else falls in the cracks. The creative writing program at Appalachian changed my entire life, and I've realized that finding the right mentor makes all the difference in the world.”