Four international Honors College students recently participated in the celebration of world poetry sponsored by the Wick Poetry Center.
The World Poetry Reading was held on Nov. 21 at 7:30 pm in Room 317 at the Kent Student Center. Students participants shared poetry from around the globe. Poems were read in the participants' native languages.
Among Honors College students featured at the event were Mariam Makatsaria (Georgia), Valentina Peralta (Venezuela), Shen Wen Tan (Malaysia), and Gyorgi Mihalyi (Hungary).
Gyorgi Mihalyi selected "Love" by contemporary Hungarian poet Akos Fodor.
"To read in Hungarian to an audience here at the University where I can't really use my language with anyone was very liberating. I am thankful for the Wick Poetry Center and the Office of Global Education for the opportunity," said Mihalyi.
Mihalyi is an international programming assistant in the Office of Global Education and communicates with many international students on a weekly basis.
"I have never heard their real voices as I did at the World Poetry Reading," she says. "This is why it was an amazing experience."
Mariam Makatsaria selected "Tell my husband" by contemporary Georgian poet Maya Sarishvili.
"She stood out to me because of her eloquent writing and tendency to use a fresh and unique combination of words that I've never seen next to one another before."
"I felt extremely blessed that I was a part of an event that appreciated poetry in the world's most beautiful languages," Makatsaria said. "We usually turn to read poetry in a single language, but during the World Poetry reading we made space for other cultures, and particularly their lyrical languages, in our hearts and minds."
Currently an undergraduate intern at the Wick Poetry Center, she says she "was extremely proud of the number of people who showed up at the event and who confidently stood up there and offered us a taste of their culture."
Shen Wen Tan read "Unggun Bersih" by prominent Malaysian poet, novelist, and social activist A. Samad Said.
"I mentioned in the World Poetry reading that this poem is considered controversial and seditious in Malaysia because the poet himself was arrested for reciting this poem in public," she says.
According to Tan, the poem describes the anguish of the poet in view of the current corrupted political situation in Malaysia.
"Growing up in Malaysia, many people from my generation suffer from the repercussions of a highly corrupted government. This poem then reflects our deepest yearnings for justice and democracy that will eventually come like a cleansing fire," she said.
Among those in attendance was sophomore Honors student Zachary Nickels.
"I think that for thousands of years, poetry has been the most consistently important form of art and now it is grossly underrepresented," Nickels said. "Events like these are important because they forward the potential to change the way we look at the world."
An open reading session followed the World Poetry Reading.
Nickels volunteered to read "Dream Song 29" by John Berryman.