by Ali West, Grade 12
“If it’s words you’re after, I’m your man.” – Gerard Bierne
This sentence opens one of the widely-recognized poet Gerard Bierne’s works, and it held true during the recent SMUS poetry evening held in Wenman pavilion. Mr. Bierne, who has been the recipient of of two Sunday Tribune/Hennessey Literary Awards, read to the assembled students and faculty from his critically-acclaimed collection Digging My Own Grave.
He also regaled us with an excerpt from his new novel, Turtle, which explores the ways in which past generations determine the fate of future ones. The author’s clear diction and attention to detail made his work a privelege to hear — and, as one student remarked over juice and cookies, his Irish accent certainly didn’t hurt, either.
Four brave Writing 12 students –Maddy Petersen, Robyn Hope, Eric Protzer, and Mary Lapp- also took advantage of the opportunity to test out some of their own work. Maddy’s seasonally appropriate poem “October” and Eric’s dramatic reading of “Us” held the audience’s attention. Robyn’s moving verse “Useless” caused more than a few eyes to tear up, as did Mary Lapp’s heartfelt work, “Farewell to the Coastline.”
All in all, the evening was a delight, serving the dual functions of showcasing an established author and providing a forum for young talent. Readings of this nature are slated to continue throughout the school year — make sure to keep an eye on the announcements for more details!