This past Thursday, renowned poet and author Mark Doty was a guest reader at Springfield College.
The Dodge Ballroom in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union was packed with students and faculty alike waiting to hear the talented Doty read some of his favorite and newest collected works.
The reading was sponsored by the Humanities Department. Chair of the Humanities Department, Dr. Margaret Lloyd, has been a fan of Doty for many years, and was extremely excited to have him come read.
“I’ve know his work since 1987, which is a really, really long time,” said Lloyd. “I think he is just a brilliant poet.”
Doty’s reading lasted 45 minutes, but time flew by as the poet took the audience on a journey through his past and present with his excellent command of language and emotions. Every poem was beautifully read and interpreted through Doty’s reading.
The topics of Doty’s poems ranged from the loss of a loved one, to his beloved dogs.There wasn’t a shortage of excitement throughout the night.
Doty’s love for poetry started at an early age. He grew up in Maryville, Tenn. and had been exposed to the art throughout his childhood all the way to high school, where his real passion began.
“My family is southern Protestant. Singing hymns in the summer on the porch [was common]. That’s really a world of imagery that is rich and beautiful,” said Doty. “It was really in high school when it started to nag at me. I started to read on my own.”
Every individual has an outlet, and for Doty, poetry is his way of expressing his emotions and understanding himself better.
“I feel as though my experience isn’t complete until I’ve named it or given a shape to it through writing,” explained Doty. “We sort of float along on the surface of our lives and we don’t always stop to really look and really consider, and I find that the only way I can do that is if I have a tool to really look and examine my life, and for me that tool is writing.”
The Dodge Ballroom was filled with positive reactions to Doty’s readings. Professor Justine Dymond thought that hearing Doty read was a very unique experience.
“I think it is always a treat to hear a poet read not only the readings, but then talking about their poetry,” said Dymond. “I hope that people saw that this was an amazing opportunity.”
With so much accomplished in one lifetime, Doty feels content with where he is. He currently is a teacher at Rutgers University, and even has a new book coming out.
Springfield College can count themselves lucky that such an opportunity presented itself, and with the help of the Humanities Department, the students and faculty got to experience the works of an incredible poet.