Biespiel turns relationships, religion, politics to poetry

caitlinhardee

Photo Credit : Gold

David Biespiel opened his Friday, April 2, poetry reading on the Visiting Writers circuit with an unusual move: reading aloud a sampling of his favorite poems from other authors. He started with poems by Tess Gallagher, Whitman’s own Katrina Roberts, associate professor of English and creative writing, and others.

Biespiel also read a selection of works from his 2009 anthology, “The Book of Men and Women,” which was honored for Best Poetry of the Year by The Poetry Foundation. Biespiel alluded briefly to the fact that the book was published not only after the events of September 11, 2001, but also after the invasion of Iraq, and said that the book has a lot of “political steam in the air.”

The award-winning poet then moved to poems still unpublished and in the works for his upcoming and still untitled book. Biespiel explained the concept for his next collection of poems.

“They are in the form of letters,” he said. “Some of them are letters to people who are alive, some of them are letters to people who are no longer alive, some of them are intimate friends, some of them are public figures.”

When asked by a student if he uses the Bible for inspiration in writing poetry, Biespiel confirmed.

“It’s a great book. Yeah, I guess I do. It’s so full of emotion, but the emotion isn’t always present. So much of the writing, especially in the Old Testament, so much of the experience is in the foreground. Abraham and Isaac travel for three days to go to the mountains so that Isaac can be sacrificed, but there’s never any description of: what did the landscape look like, who did they meet, what did they talk about.”

The rest of April marks a special time in the Visiting Writers Series, as we move into National Poetry Month. Poet Sherman Alexie will speak in Cordiner Hall one week from today, on Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m.