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Poetry Matters
By Russell Guerrero ’83

Trinity Poet Jenny Browne Organizes Lennox Series on Why Poetry is Still Relevant

Is there still a place for poetry in a world moving at hyper-speed and filled with technological clutter?  Of course, says Jenny Browne, assistant professor of English and Trinity’s poet-in-residence. “It gives voice to human experience in a way that no other kind of writing does.”

This spring, Professor Browne will present a series on why poetry does matter - and should matter - to everyone.  The Lennox Seminar in Creative Writing: The Poetry Conversation/s will feature presentations by some of the leading forces in the American Poetry Community including:

Stephen Burt – associate professor of English at Harvard University and author of Forms of Youth: Adolescence and 20th Century Poetry.

Rigoberto González – member of the board of the National Book Critics Circle,  author of two books of poetry, as well as two children’s books, and a memoir.

Robert Hass – a former U.S. Poet Laureate and the 2008 National Book Award Winner for Poetry.

Ellen Doré Watson – director of the Poetry Center at Smith College and poetry editor of The Massachusetts Review. She is the author of four books of poems, winner of numerous awards, and has translated a dozen books from Brazilian Portuguese.

Professor Browne’s passion for poetry was nurtured from travels across the world. She has lived in Sierra Leone, China, El Salvador, and Guatemala as well as several states in the U.S.

And she has shared her passion by teaching at a variety of places such as private schools, community centers, and even juvenile detention centers.

“My path has been very circuitous, but I think it’s all led to, and contributed to, being a writer and writing poetry,” she said.         

At Trinity, Professor Browne is delighted that many students in her poetry classes are not English majors. “I have a real range of students,” she said.  “I have students double majoring in pre-med and French.”

“I think Trinity students consider poetry and creative writing as sort of using different muscles and expressing themselves in different ways,” she added. “They see that having the opportunity to have a deeper engagement with literature as another part of a real liberal arts education.” 

Asked about her philosophy on poetry, Professor Browne offered this insight:

“I talk to students about how a poem is not a description of the world but it is an attempt to recreate the experience of being in the world – with language.”

So what do you do with poetry? “You don’t do anything with it!” she laughs.  “You read it!”

Courses Taught:

  • Poetry Writing
  • Advanced Poetry Writing
  • Writing Workshop

Selected Publications

  • The Second Reason, University of Tampa Press, 2007.
  • At Once, University of Tampa Press, 2003.
  • Glass, Pecan Grove Press/St. Mary’s University, 2000.

© 2009 Trinity University

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