Celebrating language through poetry

A St. Thomas University professor decided to host a spoken word poetry night—with a twist: people could share, read and listen to poems in any language.

Dean Farrell, an Irish language professor at STU, hosted this first-time event at the University of New Brunswick Grad House on Sept. 27.

Farrell said he created it because he wanted to put two of his favourite things together—poetry and his passion for language.

“I wanted to share my language with people and I’m also a huge poetry fan,” Farrell said. “I think that if, through poetry, we can achieve such a language and cultural exchange, I thought why not do it all on the same event?”

Manuel García, a third-year economics student, attended the event even though he didn’t read any poems.

“This was the first poetry event I’ve been to and I really enjoyed it,” García said in a Facebook message. “I feel that it’s a space where you get to be vulnerable with strangers.”

“We don’t need to understand each other to actually understand the message we’re trying to pass. And for a writer, [sharing] what they write is a big deal and not always easy, so I liked it.”

At this event, people read poetry in many different languages. (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

Second-year STU student Diana Chávez read two poems in Spanish. She recited one from her favourite author and one she wrote herself.

“This is the first time I’ve seen that they organized something like this,” she said. “I thought it was very powerful and I love the fact that, even though I didn’t know some of the languages, I could feel the vulnerability that the poet was trying to portray and share.”

Diana Chávez read two poems in Spanish, one of them she wrote herself. (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

Farrell said he hopes to host more events like these in the future.

Approximately 40 people attended the event. Poems were read in English, Irish, Spanish and Arabic, all on diverse topics and themes.

“Taking into consideration that Fredericton is very diverse and multicultural, I think this should be done more often,” said Chavez.

“I’m really looking forward to see more of these events in the future.”

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