An author and a poet, English Prof. Laura Kasischke wears many literary hats, often simultaneously.
Monday night, she spoke at Hatcher Graduate Library on a panel with poet Megan Levad, assistant director of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, to debut her new book of poems, “The Infinitesimals.” At the event, Kasischke read her poems “Maid in the Moorway,” “Mushrooms” and “At the End of the Text a Small Bestial Form.” Kasischke also had Levad read her own poem “Bullying.”
The audience of about 30 people was composed of community members and students. LSA senior Bennet Johnson, who had read Kasischke’s book in his English 424 advanced poetry workshop, said hearing the poems aloud gave him a different take on them.
“In general, her voice on the page, for me at least, was somewhat different because I get so absorbed into her figurative language and I have to stop and think about it, whereas when you hear her read it you kind of are pushed a little bit more through it,” Johnson said. “For me hearing it, I enjoyed it more than when I read it on the page.”
While her poems are full of vivid figurative language, Kasischke emphasized her use of rhymes, repetition and mystery during the talk.
“I like rhyme and I like repetition. It has to be what inspired me in the first place,” she said during the panel discussion. “A good rhyme, same with repetition, there’s just something really spooky about it.”
Kasischke said when she feels a poem is not her “most brilliant utterance,” she will rely more heavily on repetition and rhyme as her literary tools.
She also discussed some of the events in her life that have influenced her writing, most notably the death of her father. Though his death inspired several of her poems about grief, she said she strived to add literary elements that would add a degree of mystery to her writing and camouflage some of its more personal details.
LSA junior Stephanie Choi said attending the discussion provided a unique opportunity to interact with the text of Kasischke’s poems.
“I thought that it was very enlightening and that it was very nice to hear an actual poet’s perspective on her own work.”