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By MATT CRANE
Mississippi State University will highlight the creative art of poetry Wednesday as the English department welcomes Sandra Beasley, a critically praised and nationally recognized poet, at 4:30 p.m. in the Fowlkes Auditorium in the Colvard Student Union.
Beasley will perform selections from her recent collection â€śI Was the Jukebox,â€ť as well as new work including dramatic monologues during the reading.
Catherine Pierce, associate professor and co-director of MSUâ€™s creative writing program, said she has been familiar with Beasley for some time, seeing her works published in magazines throughout the years and enjoying â€śJukeboxâ€ť herself.
â€śHer poems are very accessible and surprisingly funny,â€ť she said. â€śSheâ€™s writing some really smart and moving works that I think people will enjoy when they read them.â€ť
â€śI Was the Jukeboxâ€ť was awarded the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize and her work has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine, Oxford American and the Wall Street Journal.
Pierce, an author of two poetry books herself, said leading a poetry reading requires a different kind of engagement the poet must use with the reader.
â€śThereâ€™s definitely an element of performing that goes with it,â€ť she said. â€śYou have to find the balance between reading your work and connecting with your audience. Itâ€™s a balancing act.â€ť
Pierce said event visitors have the chance of exposure to the literary art form and its many diverse aspects.
â€śI think that people that might not be avid readers of poetry who come to these readings find the form very accessible,â€ť she said. â€śPoetry lends itself to a lot of different subjects and tones, and you can exposed to a lot of different worlds in one place and time. Poetry makes the imagination work in really exciting and startling ways.â€ť
Pierce said while some may view poetry as an art that existed hundreds of years ago, it is essential that people are exposed to the vibrant and lively art form that is still practiced today by modern writers with exciting results.
â€śAnytime we can get students and the community engaged with the arts itâ€™s a good thing because we stay engaged and connected to our emotions,â€ť she said. â€śPoetry is still being written and there are a lot of dynamic poets still writing. Weâ€™re excited to have someone like Sandra coming to us.â€ť