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Negative Capability Press poetry reading bridges age gaps, aids students

Jessica Jones, a reader at the Dec. 12 poetry event, stands with Sue Walker, the event's organizer.
Jessica Jones, a reader at the Dec. 12 poetry event, stands with Sue Walker, the event's organizer.
Courtesy of Jessica Jones

Negative Capability Press held a Community of Christmas Celebration on Saturday, December 12 that featured former University of South Alabama students, area poets and guest reader, Walter Mims, of Orlando, Fla.—a staff member of Negative Capability Press.

Sue Walker, founder of the press and director of creative writing at U.S.A., hosted the event that was held at Satori Coffee House on Old Shell Road, near the university.

“The spirit of Christmas lies in the music of poetry—it brings together students, senior citizens and people from all walks of life,” she said. “It unites poets of all ages and singers and writers of all professions.”

Events such as this are meant to bring art to life, to take creativity beyond the classroom, she said. She got the idea from the University of Alabama’s Creative Campus movement—creative.ua.edu.

This reading was held in addition to the monthly Poetry Theatre U.S.A readings Walker holds at Satori on the last Tuesday of each month during spring and fall semesters at 6 p.m. Poetry Theatre U.S.A. features readings by Walker and her poetry-writing students followed by an open-mic session. 

All these create a “hub for creative activity,” she said. “It forges links and connections between people, ideas and disciplines.”

But readings such as this help students and poets in other ways.

P.T. Paul, a Master’s Degree graduate from U.S.A. in December and one of Walker’s students, said that audience is an important aspect in writing.

“The hardest part of being a writer is finding an audience,” she said. “You have to have some feedback—the readings serve that purpose.”

She also said readings help young poets and writing students.

“For some students, it may be their first attempt at self expression,” she said. “They can find other like minded people here.”

Such events also help with anxiety issues, she said.

“Readings build self confidence—if they can get up there and read poetry and have a receptive audience give them positive feedback, it encourages them to keep doing it.”

The next poetry event will be held on Jan. 26 at Satori as Poetry Theatre U.S.A.’s first reading of the spring semester. The special guest poet will be Mary Carol Moran, whose book of poetry, Equivocal Blessings, was just published by Negative Capability Press.

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