All that's write

Shaindel Beers' poetry bookIntroducing one of her older poems, Michelle Taransky, AB’04, noted that it "was actually written in the Classics Café, so dreams do come true.” The poem was among the first Taransky had written about barns—she now has a forthcoming book devoted to the subject. And the Classics Café? Right upstairs.

Last week dozens of current and former students filled a reading by alumnae poets in the high-ceilinged Classics 110. Tied to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference held in the city February 11-14, the reading featured four poets with forthcoming or recent works—and also reunited the poets with their former professors, friends, and a building where they once found inspiration.

Kiko Petrosino's poetry bookThe first writer, Shaindel Beers, AM’00, had her collection A Brief History of Time released the day before. Beers asked the audience to shout out numbers between one and 65, and she recited the poems, ranging in form from sonnet to sestina, on the suggested pages. After reading a poem in which she gave her age as 27, Beers paused and smiled: “I sent this to publishers for many years, so I’d be very happy if you still thought I was 27.”

Kiki Petrosino, AM’04, was next. Her manuscript, to be published this summer, is a series of poems to a lover named Robert Redford (the title, Fort Red Border, is an anagram of the actor’s name). In her first poem, “This Will Darken the Cabin,” she and Redford fly into Las Vegas on a night plane, drinking brandy in plastic snifters and feeling uncomfortable in first class.

Stephanie Anderson, AB’03, an English doctoral student at Chicago, read several poems from her manuscript and several short collage poems. After she finished, the audience lingered only briefly. While nostalgia for the Classics Café can be a powerful thing, the conference was in full swing, and most of the poets had other readings to give or attend.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

February 18, 2009