Student Life Editor
On Saturday, September 14, four Keene State College students had the great honor to present their poetry in front of poets from all around the country at the New Hampshire Poetry Festival. The festival takes place every year and was held in Henniker, New Hampshire at New England College and is run by the New Hampshire Poetry Society.
Chair of the English Department Brinda Charry was also present at the festival. “The poetry festival is run by the New Hampshire Poetry Society, which encourages and supports poetry,” Charry said. “They have this annual event and there were poets from all over the country who came to present and read.”
Ashley Rollend, a student who presented her poetry at the festival, went onto explain what inspired her to get involved with the Poetry Festival. “I was really excited to get involved because I have never presented on a panel before. Most of my readings have been solo, so I was eager to see how the presentation process would be. It was a great time!” Rollend said. “Plus, I knew the experience would be great resume-building. I am starting to apply for MFA programs in poetry and I hope this experience will help me get a fellowship.”
Senior Eva Quill also presented her poetry at the Festival. “I always like going to [readings] to read my poetry or short stories because it always helps a lot to hear you read your stories out loud,” Quill explained. “I like having an audience to listen while I read my poems.”
Presenting poetry can be a nerve-racking experience, especially for a college student. “Presenting poetry is always very nerve-racking and very exciting. A lot of times poetry can be very personal, so sharing that with strangers can seem pretty daunting,” Rollend stated. “But, it kind of creates a unique connection in these spaces. I’ve presented many poems over the past few years. The first time I had to read mine in front of an audience, I was convinced that I was going to pass out. Thankfully, I didn’t. Now, I love sharing my poetry.”
Charry believes the New Hampshire Poetry Festival was important for students at Keene State. “It makes [students] aware that there is a larger culture of poetry in New Hampshire and as a state, we value poetry, art and literature,” Charry said. “I think the festival also gave our students, in particular, the opportunity to participate and to be part of this larger community that is writing. They become part of a larger community of poets in the state.”
The Poetry Festival also impacted students through their college careers. “It looks great on my resume, it will hopefully help me get into graduate school and allow me to meet other poets from all over New Hampshire,” Rollend said about the impact the Poetry Festival has had on her college experience.
Quill also explained how other students can get involved in next year’s festival if they are interested. “Talk to Professor Friedman or Charry, they know everything about all of the writing events that are going on around campus,” Quill stated.
Charry went onto explain the impact the students left on the judging panel. “They all really did outstanding work. In fact, people were talking about their panel. They were a very exceptionally talented group of students,” Charry explained.
The New Hampshire Poetry Festival was a great opportunity for Keene State students to present their own works. The New Hampshire Poetry Festival is an annual event, so make sure you mark your calendar to not miss the next one.
Connor Crawford can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org