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Women, spring celebrated during poetry reading at UMPI

Members of the campus and community gathered at the Owl’s Nest in the Campus Center on Thursday, March 31, for a University of Maine at Presque Isle poetry reading that welcomed spring and celebrated Women’s History Month.

Students, faculty and staff members, community members, and even an alumnae and her daughter, participated in the hour-and-a-half-long reading. The participants read poems about women, by women, and for women, as well as some that focused on the long-anticipated spring season.

The event, sponsored by the University’s English Program and its online journal Upcountry, also featured the reading of several students’ original poetic works. Student organizers Candice Rivera and Mika Ouellette, both English majors, put together the poetry reading. The event began with the performance of several Native drumming songs, including a song called Warrior Woman, by the Micmac women’s drumming circle Gathering of Women. Drummers included Sara DeWitt, Danielle LeBlanc, and Julie Walton.

One highlight of the afternoon event was the participation of Dr. Melissa Crowe – the winner of the inaugural Betsy Sholl Award for Excellence in Poetry – who read several newly composed poems she is preparing for inclusion in her second book of poetry. Crowe served as a full-time English faculty member at UMPI from 2004 to 2008 and continues to teach online classes for the institution.

Other readers included: Candice Rivera, Mika Ouellette, Karen McCosker, Martha Franklin, Kimberly Pratt, Melissa Hewey, Jocelyn Hewey, Rachel Rice, Claudia Udasco, and Marialuisa Udasco.

“Our goal was to promote an interest in poetry and live readings, and to see students become more interested in self-expression through poetry,” Rivera said. “We were so very pleased with the turnout, the variety of readers we had, and the very wide range of poems they shared.”

With the event now over, the student organizers are hoping that its success will encourage students to consider publishing their work through UMPI’s online journal, Upcountry.