The art of poetry celebrated

Priyanka Sharma

Staff Writer 

Troy University’s English department and the Alabama Literary Review invited Randy Blythe and Ted Hadden to read their poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month.

The event was held on Monday, April 13.

Patricia Waters, an English professor, said that having artists recite their work is a special opportunity to experience.

“Hearing artists read their work is an incredible experience,” Waters said. “Art connects people. It opens people to experience, to thoughts and feelings unknown to them, and part of being educated is being exposed to the arts, experiencing the arts. That is why it is called education.”

Ted Hadden read two poems from his 2013 collection of works, “Valley Voices.”

He spoke about the influence his childhood played in writing his poem “Raspberries and Milk.”

“I sometimes like to walk along through the aisle in the supermarket, and I might be humming a tune. Then I will think of a line, and I say, oh, that goes way back to the time when I was 3 years old. Some of my poems have been written this way.”

He ended his reading with his work “What It’s Like to Have the Violin,” and said he had played violin since he was 9, a time that he said he discovered what the relationship between poetry and music meant to him.

Randy Blythe said that his poems wind their way through personal, historical, regional, philosophical and spiritual landscapes. He said that connections between humans and nature can also be found in his works.

“I have been very lucky in my life,” Blythe said. “I have been exposed to nature a lot. Don’t we forget animals pretty regularly? We think we are not animals. But we are.

“We seem to deliberately separate ourselves from the intimacy of nature, the intimacy that is part of us.”

Blythe said that every element in nature helped inspire him during the writing process.

“If you want to write, then there are times when something you see speaks to you. If you are in the woods, it could be a feather, a rock or anything.”

Blythe read his poems “Dirt,” “The Possible,” “Joyce’s Hair,” “My Job,” “Moth” and “For Aunt Louise Who Never Liked Me” from his latest work “The Human Part.”

Blythe said that knowing who you are as a person is important to creating poetry. “I think it matters to know who you are, and who you are matters,” he said. “There is a tendency in this world we live in now for identity to be amorphous, where people are not sure.

“They are always so impressionable. It’s almost like our culture wants our identity to be nebulous.

“I am not saying that this is advice, but I am saying this, that I’ve always been a contrary person. If somebody told me, I would try real hard to do it. That’s just who I am.”

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