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Renowned poet Randall Jarrell with WC students. Photo from UNCG University Archives.

At the 30th General Conference in Paris, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted World Poetry Day in an attempt to connect and support linguistic diversity while giving endangered languages a chance to be heard. 

UNCG’s English Department has a wide variety of poetry courses available to guide writers through the beginning stages of grasping what a poem is to writing in the advanced stages, with one of the most highly regarded MFA programs in the nation. Coraddi, the historic undergraduate literary journal, allows poets on campus to publish their work, and The Greensboro Review gives writers the opportunity to serve as poetry editors on a national-level journal. Additionally, the city of Greensboro is home to many renowned poets and the site of many poetry readings, on campus and downtown. This poetic environment has inspired many UNCG students to develop their grasp of poetry to one that includes creation and gives them the opportunity and courage to become published poets. 

Hear from some of UNCG’s undergraduate student poets who were published in the fall edition of Corradi that featured 20 student poets and 24 original poems. 

“Poetry is a very stabilizing force in my life. It has been monumental in how I process my feelings. For me, poetry is a way to use something bad and turn it into something impactful. It’s a way to make yourself, as well as the people you share it with, understand the weight of one’s emotions. When I think of poetry, I think of chaos masked with beauty and metaphors. It can be challenging to understand at times, but once the connections are made, it can turn into an explorative experience.

My classes at UNCG have made me a better writer. Just learning the different techniques one can employ in their poems, how to make emphasis with punctuation (or the lack thereof), and simply being able to have like-minded people critique your writing has made me look at poetry in a totally different way. The people here, too, have also had a lot of influence on my works. 

-Wesley Britt, ’24 “Sweet Magnolia” and “Everywhere for (mostly) Everyone”

“My poem in the Coraddi is about the speaker going into what they describe as a castle full of people eating food, with the speaker demanding a meal. Only it is revealed that the speaker is actually in a Burger King! A bait and switch! I thought it was a funny juxtaposition.

As much as poetry is an art form, it’s also a means of expression. There aren’t really any set rules, just do what feels right! But the important thing is to never stop writing and have fun doing it.

Being in the English department at UNCG, it has gotten me into writing poetry. I never wrote much before, but being in this field inspired me to write more!”

-JD Terhune ’23, English major, creative writing minor, “The King’s Court” 

“Poetry is incredibly reflective for me. I’ve found that over the years, each poem I write is a snapshot of who I was during that time. It’s vivid, it’s strong, it’s delicate, it’s sacred and vulnerable. It’s everything I am and want to be.

UNCG has had an incredible impact on my poetic journey. There’s so much diversity in the pool of writers here and no one makes me feel insecure about what I choose to write about. There’s so much love and praise for everyone’s work which encourages us all to keep our creativity alive.

-Cynthia Thomas, ’24, psychology major, “cinch” and “venus moon conjunct”

“To me, poetry is freedom. Poetry is a way I can share with the world the thoughts and feelings I am sometimes too afraid to express. With poetry, I can organize my opinions and craft them into something that continues to advocate for my beliefs. 

My feature in the Corradi was actually my first time getting published! I love how wide-ranging the art and poems are in the Coraddi. I was inspired to write my poem for the Corradi because I like the contrast between artists. Despite its lack of popularity, I enjoy writing poetry in German. I knew the Coraddi would be accepting of what I had to say, despite the language barrier. 

My poem, ‘Zement Garten’ briefly touches on several social issues, from colorism to forced immigration. But, at the core, it is about my experiences being a Black woman who doesn’t know her history, nor feels she belongs in American society, because of slavery and the effects it continues to have on African Americans. Overall, my poem is about living with an unclear identity. 

I would like UNCG to know that I thank them for the opportunities they give students, such as through the Coraddi, to share their poetry! Poetry is really therapeutic, but also a wonderful way to share my opinions with my peers. I’m happy for on-campus outlets such as this magazine that provide me with a platform to tell stories and advocate. 

-Caraline Malloy, ’22, Psychology major, minors in business and German “Zemet Garten”

Story by Dana Broadus and Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane and courtesy of UNCG University Archives (top photo)

 
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