Well-known poet to read on campus Wednesday


Sandra Beasley

A critically acclaimed, nationally celebrated poet will visit Mississippi State University this week to read some of her vivid personal poems and intense dramatic monologues.

Sandra Beasley of Washington, D.C. will select poems from her most recent collection, "I Was the Jukebox," and new work during the Wednesday, Oct. 17 program.

Beasley will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Fowlkes Auditorium at Colvard Student Union. MSU's English department is sponsoring the reading, which is free and open to the public.

According to Beasley, poetry should be about engaging the audience, not lecturing it. Poetry that makes readers feel stupid means the poet failed in creating the poem, she said.

"The best poems use clear terms and vivid images to explore wild, surreal premises, to offer a visit to worlds not our own, while also mining for the deeper truths of this human experience," she noted.

Beasley also said she wants her work to convince people of the modern possibilities of poetry with topics ranging from a Minotaur's narrative to the voice of a piano.

"Preparing for a poetry reading is a lot like being in a band," she explained. "You plan your set list: weighing pace, seeding humor, connecting with the audience between poems, and alternating favorites with newer work."

"I Was the Jukebox" won the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and works have appeared in Poetry and The Believer magazines, as well as The Best American Poetry 2010.

Other recent honors for Beasley's work include a 2011 LegalArt Residency in Miami, Fla., and, in 2010, selections as the University of Mississippi Summer Poet-in-Residence and as a member of a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship. She has also received the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation and the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers.

To learn more about Beasley and her work, visit http://www.sandrabeasley.com.

Leah Barbour | University Relations

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