Tag Archives: Poetry

Slam poet snaps expectations with experience

Natasha “T” Miller slammed an audience composed of admirers of the spoken word who attended the Cat Cab on Feb. 27 in Fred Meyer Lounge.

As Cat Cabs normally feature student or professional vocalists and instrumentalists, the poetry slam given by Miller was a rare treat. Miller spoke from her soul as she presented selections of her poetry.

The atmosphere of FML looked like a jazz club, as the cool blue lights projected down on the floor. To add to the scene, students snapped their fingers or uttered agreement in response to Miller’s poetry.

Miller presented a variety of poems that included themes of family, relationships, life and human rights.

Her first poem she presented titled, “Throwback thursday” spoke to the audience as the sounds of snapping buzzed in the lounge. Miller exclaimed in the poem that, “One day your whole life will be a throwback Thursday picture.”

Other poems Miller presented included “The other black man,” which she dedicated to the memory of 15 year old African American, Sakia Gunn, who was murdered in New Jersey because she told a pair of men that she was a lesbian.

Miller went on to include “My skinny poem,” “10 things I’ve learned over the years,” “To be honest for Halloween” and a poem dedicated to her nephew that explores the coming out of hip hop artist, Frank Ocean.

The open and friendly Miller, invited audience members to ask questions about herself and her poetry.

Miller responded when asked what she is passionate about by stating that “I am passionate about forgiveness.”

She also commented that she has two ways she focuses when writing poetry. The first is when an idea hits her in the shower and she jumps out to write it down. The second is jokingly, “Having 18 cups of tea, cooking some food and being engaged in multiple things.”

She is inspired by Adele and admires slam poet, Andrea Gibson. Growing up in Detroit taught Miller much about life.

She leads activism projects in her hometown concentrating mostly on support for human rights, specifically for the LGBT community.

Miller has competed in the International Women of the World Poetry slam, starred in a Sprite commercial and was most recently featured in a “Vogue” article. To keep up with Natasha “T” Miller, follow her on Twitter @Tmillerpoetry.

Jonathon Williams / Opinion Editor 

Jonathon Williams   can          be            reached   at             linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com


Natasha “T” Miller recites her poetry from memory in front of a snapping crowd at the Fred Meyer Lounge on Feb. 27.



YuCheng Zhang/Senior photographer


Publication prompts praise for professor, poet

Linfield is able to declare that it has an award winning author in its faculty.

Associate professor of English Joe Wilkins, the latest edition to the English department won one of the nine High Plains Book Awards for his collection of poetry, “Notes from the Journey Westward.”

The High Plains Book Awards recognize regional authors and their literary works that examine and reflect life in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

“I’ve written two other books: a memoir, ‘The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry,’ and a previous collection of poems, ‘Killing the Murnion Dogs.’ Both books were finalists for a number of post-publication book prizes, including the Orion Book Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize, and it’s great to be a finalist, but it’s really nice to finally win one, too,” Wilkins said in an email.

“Notes from the Journey Westward” received an award in the poetry division for the High Plains Book Awards.

Wilkins has written poetry previously. His latest novel elaborates on his other work.

“In many ways, ‘Notes from the Journey Westward’ can be read as the second and final installment of the poetic project I began with ‘Killing the Murnion Dogs,’ my first full-length collection. Both books begin in the high plains of eastern Montana and then travel miles across the American interior, and both grapple with similar questions,” Wilkins wrote.

Wilkins began writing the poems that would become “Notes from the Journey Westward,” in his final year of graduate school at the University of Idaho, in the spring of 2007 and completed the last few poems in the summer of 2010, while on a writers’ residency in the Adirondack Mountain’s of New York.

“Notes from the Journey Westward” was picked up and published in the fall 2012 by White Pine Press.

“I worked so hard on my first two books. ‘Notes from the Journey Westward’ came a little easier, both in the writing and the publishing, which, I think, has led me to neglect it a little bit. The award has been a nice reminder that this [work] matters just as much as the others,” Wilkins wrote.

Wilkins came to Linfield this fall from Waldorf College, he directed the creative writing program there for six years.

Before that, he received his Masters of Fine in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho, where he worked with the poet Robert Wrigley and the memoirist Kim Barnes.

Wilkins taught in the Mississippi Delta for two years as a member of Teach For America and he earned his undergraduate degree in computer engineering from Gonzaga University.

“I’m just loving Linfield,” Wilkins wrote in an email. “My students are working so hard and writing so well, my colleagues are great, and McMinnville’s a pretty cool small town.”

Rosa Johnson / Copy editor

Rosa Johnson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopyed@gmail.com.

Slam poet expresses heartfelt emotions

Slam poet Rudy Francisco shares the first poem he ever performed Feb. 16 in Ice Auditorium. Francisco is widely known as a spoken word artist.

“I challenge you to write again or start writing. Just try it out, its done so much for me as a person.”

These were artist Rudy Francisco’s closing words for the first event of the semester put on by the Associated Students of Linfield College on Feb. 16 in Ice Auditorium.

Francisco spoke from the heart on topics of growing up, love and equality toward women.

One poem the San Diego native performed was titled “Letter to Chris Brown.” While initially earning laughter from the audience, the poem turned its focus on the problem surrounding women’s violence and the portrayals of African American men by media that become true.

The end of the poem brought truth of Francisco’s upbringing and the domes- tic violence he witnessed. He even pointed out that he “did not hate Chris Brown.” The poem brought out his feeling on creating a safety for women.

“Its crazy how often I realize that in America, we do not create a safe space for women,” Francisco said. “It’s interesting how often as a man, I don’t worry about my safety. Like when I go out to my car, I don’t have two thoughts about it. But I have women who are friends, who worry about that every time they leave their house.”

Francisco then shared his first experience of writing a poem and admits the process was difficult.
With the help of his roommate, who suggested the topic, Francisco wrote a poem on “what [he’d] write about if [he] knew what to write about.” The poem described all the things that were typical messages of poems, such as love, world problems, finding parental approval and fame, with an ending message of not being forgot.

He also touched on the controversial issue between the church and the gay community in his poem, “Your God isn’t Mine.” The poem touches on other social issues revolving around hate, including domestic violence, racial tensions and hate speech.

Francisco relates the story of a time when he saw a man on the corner of an intersection holding up a sign reading “God hates gays.” Being a religious man himself, Francisco shares his belief that “God doesn’t hate anyone.”

Francisco does not believe he’d be the person he is today had he not started performing. He works to inspire his audiences to give it a try, ending his show with the challenge. After the performance, many students stayed behind to talk to Francisco.

“His style was very personable and very relaxed, but he was also about involving the audience and making them excited about what he was speaking about,” sophomore Ellen Massey said. “You could tell he was truly passion- ate about poetry and the things he talked about, as the frequency and fluctuation in his voice changed. I am very glad that he was able to come to Linfield and be an inspiration to the students here.”

Kaylyn Peterson

Copy Chief

Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

Faculty sing, play poet’s dark love story

Two professors told a love story through a vocal and piano duet Nov. 13.

Anton Belov, assistant professor of music, and Jill Timmons, professor of music, combined talents to create their faculty recital in Ice Auditorium.

Belov, a baritone, sang pieces by a range of composers, from Tchaikovsky to Robert Schumann. Timmons accompanied him on piano.

The recital, titled, “A Poet’s Love,” featured the works of Schumann, who used Heinrich Heine’s poetry to compose the song, “Dichterliebe.”

The song tells the story of a poet who falls in love with a young woman.

The piece incorporates strong images from the natural world, using things like plants and water to evoke the descriptions attached to the characters.

Throughout the segments of the song, the characters’ love develops before falling apart.

Belov sang passionately during the middle segments, illustrating how the narrator must have felt to see the woman he loved betray him.

“It’s a dark kind of love story,” Belov said.

Timmons and Belov also performed works by Tchaikovsky, Franz Liszt, Francesco Santoliquido, Alexander Glazunov and Sergey Rachmaninoff.

The duo chose Schumann’s piece because Belov had previously performed it many times, and because Timmons said she had always dreamed of performing it.

“I have such a strong connection to the piece,” Belov said. “There is so much hidden. There is secret meaning in each poem and strong connections throughout.”

Timmons said she and Belov met weekly before the recital, working on song interpretation, style and performance.

“Sometimes we had different interpretations of the pieces, but we worked through them,” Belov said.

Timmons said that working collaboratively was a positive experience because it gave her the opportunity to see pieces from new perspectives.

“The beauty of working with another musician is the way you adjust to each other’s interpretations of the piece,” Timmons said. “[Belov] had a different view of the work than I did, so I found myself adapting, which was really refreshing.”

The pieces evolved during their practice times, Belov said. He said they would continue to change each time the duo performed them, shifting along with the musicians.

Timmons said she enjoyed the performance and the wide range of audience members who attended—from trustees to the president of the school to students.

“We had great audience interaction,” she said. “We felt strong participation in the music and poetry.”

Joanna Peterson/
Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com. 


Poet draws crowds with Whitman-inspired poetry

Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen reads Whitman-inspired poetry from her new collection, “The Voluptuary,” to a crowded audience Nov. 30 in Nicholson Library. Joel Ray/For the Review

Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen reads Whitman-inspired poetry from her new collection, “The Voluptuary,” to a crowded audience Nov. 30 in Nicholson Library. Joel Ray/For the Review

Oregon’s sixth poet laureate read from her new book of poems to a high turnout of students, faculty, staff and others Nov. 30 in the Jane Austin Reading Room of Nicholson Library. The event is part of Linfield’s ongoing series “Readings at the Nick.”
More than 60 people listened to Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen read from her new collection of poems, “The Voluptuary.”
“The turnout was gratifying — one of the largest we’ve had for any of the ‘Readings at the Nick,’” Professor of English Lex Runciman, who arranged Petersen’s visit, said in an e-mail. “It suggests to me that even in a time of 4G phones and instant access to information, the title ‘Oregon Poet Laureate’ carries a particular cachet.”
Petersen said the book was dedicated to Walt Whitman (with whom she shares her surname) and to her parents. One section of the book consists of poems addressed directly to Whitman.
She said she was inspired by Whitman and wrote many poems while reading through two of his collections: “Leaves of Grass” and “Speciman Days.”
“I was overcome by the immensity of his embrace of the world. [He] just draws the whole world into his poems, and his generosity of spirit,” Petersen said. “It was very, very moving.”
She read two of her poems addressed to Whitman, and she also read a poem by Runciman, titled “All Is A Procession,” which praised Whitman.
“I didn’t know she would be reading it,” Runciman said via e-mail. “For her to do so was a gracious gesture.”
Junior Josh Rivas said he enjoyed Petersen’s reading.
“I liked it overall; her words were almost always of praise, with a bit of nostalgia laced in between,” he said in an e-mail. “Her style has a very personal voice — something I can respect in a poet.”
Rivas said he particularly liked her poem “During a Solar Eclipse.” In the poem, Petersen described how ancient cultures yelled and made noise during solar eclipses in order to drive off whatever they thought was trying to kill the sun, but she also wondered if perhaps the sun and the moon were making love instead and that perhaps it was best to keep quiet and look away.
Petersen also answered questions from the audience about her work as a poet.
“It’s so wonderful to be an ambassador for poetry,” she said in response to a question about her role as poet laureate. “It’s a delight and honor. It’s pure pleasure.”
When asked why she thought it was important to write, she said, “we write to create ourselves.” She also called writing “a wonderful process of discovery.”
Rivas said he thought writing was important for individuals.
“I believe she meant that writing is a way of exploring and relating to the human condition,” he said via e-mail. “We find a bit of ourselves in writing because it is a reflection of the will of our hearts.”
According to oregonpoetlaureate.org, Petersen began writing poetry after moving to Klamath Falls, Ore., and being inspired by its landscape. Her first published poem was in a Sunday edition of the Oregonian in 1976, according to the website.
In April of 2010, she was named Oregon’s sixth poet laureate.
“It still seems amazing to me,” she said. “Practically every day I just have to stop and think, ‘Oh my gosh, is this really true?’”
Runciman said he thinks it’s important for students to attend events such as readings, concerts and art exhibits.
“For our students, we want to put them in the company of practitioners and practitioners that aren’t their teachers,” he said.
Rivas also said that he believes readings such as Petersen’s are valuable to students interested in writing.
“It gives us a perspective of the successful writer and the things that they have to do in order to become so successful,” he said via e-mail. “It also exposes us to new styles and techniques in writing that we have yet to touch upon.”
For more information about Petersen, and to read selections from “The Voluptuary,” visit www.paulann.net.

Braden Smith /Managing editor
Braden Smith can be reached at linfieldreviewmanaging@gmail.com.