The United States poet laureate Ada Limón said it best, “No one can tell you what a poem means […] that is its true magic.”
A group of Blue Mountain students and staff took a trip to the University of Mississippi on February 7 to listen to the poet laureate read her poems and discuss poetry. She began the reading and lecture with a little backstory on herself, telling an autobiographical story to the audience. Limón highlighted a bookstore and a poem all about a whale at the bottom of the sea during this time, noting that poetry kept her company whenever she was younger and busy with work. After telling the audience about herself, Limón proceeded to read a plethora of her poems, such as Dead Stars or The Raincoat. Her poems focus on the idea of love for close friends, and tenderness. Her poems also emphasize the familial aspect of her life.
After this, she moved on to a lecture regarding her works and the poetry scheme. The laureate stated that no one consumes poetry the same, and that the ideas of good and bad are subjective ideas. Her key point was that poetry is up to self interpretation, and that anyone can read a poem and take away something different.
At the end of the event, Limón hosted a question-and-answer session with the audience. When the laureate was asked about her favorite poem that she had written, she stated, “I don’t exactly have a favorite poem of my own; I seem to like them best whenever I read them, and I need the message inside of them.” Limón shared that she finds poems she has written before and rereads them in her times of need whenever the topic pertains to her issue at hand.
At the end of the session, the laureate discussed what the power of poetry is to her, and how the public interacts with her work. She explained that nobody will see a poem the same, but that poems will almost always invoke a thought in an individual. Limón said that the meaning of her poems never changes for her whenever they are released to the public, but that they are transformed by fresh thoughts. Similarly, the BMCU students who attended the event left with fresh thoughts of their own, and found the entire experience gave them a lot to think about.