Slowing down with a bit of poetry

GVL / Archieve

GVL / Archieve

Shelby Pendowski

The season of midterms at Grand Valley State University began lurking this week. Although this mile marker doesn’t seem to have students bound to their books like finals week, it still can induce students with a high level of stress. Each year, GVSU hosts the Fall Arts Celebration to promote different art forms, and organizers of the poetry-themed presentation hope it relieves some students’ stress.

“Poetry encourages us to slow down, to look more closely and carefully at things – promising that if we do these things, our lives will be enriched,” said GVSU Writing professor, Patricia Clark. “Even in a busy time of the semester, there are things in our lives to pay attention to. We might try slowing down, walking around campus, taking in the beautiful sights of trees, colors, leaves.”

Clark, a coordinator of the Fall Arts Celebration poetry event, assisted in deciding to invite Mark Doty and Dorianne Laux to come speak. The presentation is Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. on the second level of the GVSU Eberhard center located on the downtown Pew Campus.

Both Doty and Laux are published authors. Their selection was based off not only their vast amount of experience, but also their ability to educate students.

“Mark Doty is a very well known poet who has also written memoirs and prose,” Clark said. “Dorianne Laux was chosen because her work complements Doty’s quite well.”

Doty published his first book “My Alexandria” in 1993. Since its release, that title has won the Los Angeles Times book prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Doty has published eight poetry books altogether.

Laux, a professor at North Carolina State University, is the author of five books. She won the Oregon Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for her book, “Facts about the Moon.” Laux’s most recent book is titled “The Book of Men.”

Following their presentations and readings, both Doty and Laux will have their works for sale. The authors will also be available for a book signing.

“I hope students get the thrill of a live performance, plus come to appreciate poetry a bit more,” Clark said. “Poetry is a reminder to stay in the moment, to live fully in the moment with all of your senses, to appreciate now, today, the moment and then to reflect, too, on the meaning of moments and the meanings of life.”

Each of the Fall Arts Celebration events is free and open to everyone. This poetry night is the fourth of six in the series. Farther down the road, GVSU aims to celebrate dance in the “Gallim Dance: Articulate Bodies, Visceral Language” and holiday celebration with “The Many Moods of Christmas: Celebrating the Traditional Music of the Holidays” as the final two events.

For more information on the Fall Arts Celebration visit