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Powerful Duo: Pattie McCarthy and Jenn McCreary read for New Writing Series

Last Thursday, Oct. 27, the New Writing Series once again dazzled the audience with up-and-coming writers. Poets Pattie McCarthy and Jenn McCreary took the stage, charming listeners with imagery and repetition.“Both poets offer rewards…[and] bring to the table all the hard words,” Associate Professor Dr. Steve Evans said when introducing them.

Jenn McCreary read a collection of poems first. Her poems, McCreary said, were “a little about the Cold War and disaster.” As she read, though the audience laughed, a deeply personal feeling still somehow entered the Stewart Commons. With phrases alluding to the Cold War, such as “defecting Russian ballet dancers,” and “duck and covering,” McCreary’s writing offered a new perspective to history, especially to the younger attendants at the event.

“The first poet was a very powerful speaker who provided a perspective, completely new to me, on Cold War-era America that I never saw in a history classroom,” Nat Midura, a third-year civil engineering student, said.

McCreary’s intermingling of poetry with subjects such as science and history opened doors for students of all kinds to relate to poetry in a completely new way that some found to be deeply refreshing.

“I thought that Jenn gave an excellent reading of her poetry,” fourth-year English student Brady Andrews said. “It was fantastic how much of herself she really added to her poems by doing the reading. I don’t usually get excited about poetry, but after I left the reading I couldn’t stop thinking about her ‘Cold War’ poem and what life must really have felt like. Two thumbs way, way up from this inadequate poet.”

McCreary said that she was “a bookish kid” who “started writing as a response to what [she] was reading…and even if [she’s] writing about medicine or the Cold War it comes back to the feminine at some heroic quest.”

After McCreary’s readings, McCarthy took the stage. McCarthy read only one poem series for the New Writing Series, but that did not make her writing any less powerful or awe-inspiring. McCarthy’s poetry style was filled with a rich tone and yet remained factual. There was a certain mysticism with her tone and voice and the pieces were filled with history and beauty.

“I felt like the historical aspects of the poets’ works were especially alluring. The way that they created a narrative through the series of poems engrossing in a way that is very different than when poets read individual and unconnected poems. I also enjoyed the repetition of phrases used by both of the poets,” Morghen Tidd, a fifth-year English undergraduate student, said.

McCarthy mentioned her writing inspirations, mentioning that she “writes about writers and history,” and cannot remember when she was writing. “I always wrote. I was a nerdy kid who wrote poems [growing up],” McCarthy added.

For those unfamiliar with the New Writing Series, having two poets is fairly uncommon. Usually, only one artist per week reads their work on Thursday’s late afternoons. Having two poets, both interested in interdisciplinary poetry with expert use of alliteration, allowed the audience to see different but similar styles that many had not seen before.

For those that liked the duo setup to the New Writing Series, there will be more to come. On Nov. 3, Joshua Edwards and Lynn Xu will be reading poetry and on Nov. 10, poetry and fiction will be read by Kristen Case and Tessa Mellas.

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