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Karen Kovacik

On the night of Thursday April 25th, my trusty writing buddy and I went to the library for a talk. In celebration of national poetry month, the library hosted Indiana Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik.

Kovacik has been doing wonderful things to promote poetry as well as Indiana poets in her time as Poet Laureate, including such endeavors as “Poetry Out Loud”, the Border Lands Project, and maintaining a blog about her fellow Indiana poets. She manages all of this on top of being a Professor.

She is the author of such titles as:

  • Return of the Prodigal
  • Nixon & I
  • Beyond the Velvet Curtain
  • Metropolis Burning, winner of the 2006 Best Book of Indiana Award

I enjoyed her talk because it gave me something that I had been craving for a long time—the classroom atmosphere. I didn’t feel like I had been talked at for an hour, I felt like I learned something more about poetry through her “Galloping Through the Year: Four Seasons of Indiana Poets”.

We covered a poem for each of the four seasons, read it out loud, and broke the poems apart to examine at how they had been structured to have the correct feelings resonate in the reader. I felt her guiding us to a deeper understand of each poem.

She read two of her own poems to us. “Flooding the House” I had not been able to read before hand, and I found the imagery whimsical despite the dark emotions. Soup spoons for oars and conjuring Noah, Gulliver, and the Grimm Brothers.

Kovacik read “Pandora Speaks” as her second poem, and there is something so heart wrenching about it, that I suggest you read it on your own rather than have me attempt to describe it to you.

I confess I read it online before having entered that talk, but when she gave the background of it and read it directly to us, I feel like the poem changed. Instead of just a story being told, the poem became a memory shared for posterity, and I never thought that poetry could covey memories so well.

After, during the signing, she allowed us to bombard her with lots of questions about how she became Poet Laureate, how she sought publishing, and contests. She named a few publishing houses for us to check. As a female writer, I am indebted to her for carving the way for other female writers to hold positions of import in the writing world. If you haven’t had the chance, go check out her collections. Nowishly is good.


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