On Thursday, the English Academic Society hosted a Valentine-themed poetry reading in the main lounge of the William F. Rigby Hall.

A microphone stood at the front of the room next to a hot cocoa bar. Artificial red and white rose petals were scattered on the pink tablecloths. A few small black buckets held poetry prompts for improvising verses.

Students and professors gathered to listen to original works of poetry, play games and drink hot chocolate.

Students watch as participants recite poetry

Students watch as participants recite poetry. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

Writers shared definitions of love, deep with metaphors and visual imagery. Some shared poetic experiences of rejection, longing, heartache, manipulation, confidence, melancholy and bliss.

A few writers briefly shared their dating experiences before reciting their poems.

“I just like exploring different elements of relationships,” said Claire Bennion, an English major, as she talked about a poem she wrote. “I just liked the idea of following people through their life and seeing how their relationship is because sometimes it’s not always perfect.”

Claire Bennion shares her original poem

Claire Bennion shares her original poem. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

Bennion shared that she saw the announcement for the event on Canvas and thought it sounded fun. She wasn’t sure if she would share her poems or not but brought them along in case she decided to read them aloud. Bennion recited an original work she named “Come on, Dear.”

“Come on, dear put the kettle on.
Let’s sing and watch the steam.
Open the curtains, let the sunlight in,
through the glass, through the haze, through this dream.
Come on, dear put some wood on the fire.
Let’s keep these old bones warm.
The nights are harsh, and the blizzard’s coming on,
But we can endure the bitter chill.
Come on dear, leave the light on tonight,
Just this once, just for me.
Make the shadows disappear.
Then perhaps we can learn where they hide.
Come on darling, don’t lock the door,
And leave me out on my own.
Come on, darling, you’re all I’ve got,
And the winter’s coming on.
Come on pretty thing, turn the radio on.
Let’s dance like when we were young.
I’m here. You’re there, and we’ve got time,
So let’s use it while we can.
Hello dear. It’s me. Is it you?
I remember, and I’m waiting still.
I’ll always wait. I’m always roaming,
But my road still leads back to you.
It’s dark out darling. Turn the lights on.
Draw the curtains across the window pane.
Come take my hand. Let’s turn on the stove,
And dance to the kettle’s old song.
Come on dear, I’m still beside you.
Our lives are ours to live.
One cube or two? Or how about three?
What on earth do we have to lose?
I love it when you laugh, you sweet pretty thing.
It’s good, it’s kind and it’s warm.
Laugh all you want and let everything know
That you and I are here to stay.”

“Some ideas are too complex to just write about, they have to be explored in an artistic way, and the best poems are complicated,” said Gwen Furniss, a presidency member of the English Academic Society. “For people, it’s not enough that we acknowledge our feelings, thoughts, beliefs and desires. We have to use them to create something new. Poetry is one of the ways we do that.”

Students create poems while listening to poetry

Students create poems while listening to poetry. Photo credit: Emily Ormston

Although many poems revolved around the expression of love, Makayla Wach, an English major, shared a poem with a humorous perspective, a spectator repulsed by a roommate’s relationship called “Get off the couch.”

“I know that you’re hormonal,
And I know that you’re both young.
But I really don’t want to see
You frenching up with tongue.
It’s frankly inconsiderate,
And downright freaking rude.
To get annoyed when I walk in
To my own living room.
If you hate interruptions
Every time that you make out,
I’ve got some great advice for you;
Stop macking and get out.
‘There’s nowhere else for us to go!’
Your car has a backseat.
‘But it’s too cold. It’s winter!
Between you, there’s enough heat.
Stop laying on each other
Out where everyone can see.
No one cares that you’re dating,
And our roommates side with me.
You’re perfect for each other,
Because you’re both entitled twits.
The world doesn’t revolve around
Your horny kissy fits.
I know you’ll call me ‘psycho.’
I know you’ll call me ‘prude’ and ‘grouch,’
But I don’t give a single darn.
Grow up. Get off the couch.”

“Poetry allows expression of ideas and feelings that can’t really come across another more concrete or scholarly way,” said Mark Farnsworth, an English professor at the event. “It’s an emotional connection through words.”

Farnsworth shared that the society planned for about 20 people, but they were pleased to welcome 45 to the social and quickly managed to set up a few more tables.