On Tuesday, Connecticut resident and lecturer in English at Yale University, Danielle Chapman read several excerpts from her poetry anthologies at the Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center. The event was held to benefit the Coventry Soup Kitchen in Willimantic, as part of a “Creative Sustenance Reading” event.
During the reading, Chapman placed an emphasis on how people going though personal or more general disasters can become, “grateful for the beautiful experiences.”
“We gain a connection to others through painful experiences,” Chapman added. She also joked about how some writers, including her, “seek suffering, maybe to get a poem out of it.”
Several of Chapman’s poems are about New York City and Chicago. In the latter, Chapman previously worked as the Director of Literary Arts and Events for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
“Hipsters…chewing gum aggressively,” Chapman said of the cities and the characters that live there.
Chapman’s poems also invoke otherwise mundane yet scenic imagery that is only realized when you put some verses together. For example, Chapman describes oil wells as a group of mechanical beaks, not unlike the toys one sees in offices. Except instead of water, it’s crude oil.
In this sense, many of Chapman’s poems could work on multiple levels. In an interview after the reading, Chapman said that her writing process was somewhat similar to composing music. When writing a poem or novel, Chapman suggests that a completed work should be put away for some time, and then read again later.
If the writer still likes what he or she has written, she continued, that response is a gauge of the work’s quality. Thus, the work could be a better choice to send to a publisher, rather than one that was more impulsively written.
Max Engel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.