Students celebrate National Poetry Month

Emily Bramlett

The UK Department of English celebrated National Poetry Month with a 24-hour poetry reading at Memorial Hall’s outdoor amphitheater that began Tuesday at noon and lasted until noon on Wednesday.

Students could read their own or a favorite poet’s work, or just sit and listen to others read.

Associate professor of English Julia Johnson brought the concept of a poetry reading to UK about three years ago from the University of Southern Mississippi.  She said she had been a part of several poetry readings throughout her career, but this was her first reading that lasted 24 hours, through rain or shine. 

The reading started at noon on Tuesday and it brought quite the crowd, both readers and just listeners.

Senior David Ortiz came to support one of his friends who was reading an original piece. Although he said he does not consider himself a poet or someone who is interested in poetry, he was open to the idea of going to the marathon.

“I like to try something new,” Ortiz said.

Like Ortiz, many students were pushing their nerves to the side and finding the courage to share their personal poetry with fellow students. German and international studies junior Rebekah Ferguson was one of those brave students.

Ferguson said she does not like to speak in public and gets nervous when speaking in front of people, but she found the confidence to share her own poetry for the reading. The laid-back atmosphere made it easy for students to step out of their comfort zone and share their perspectives.

English freshman Madison Justice took full advantage of the reading and spent several hours there, returning throughout the marathon. She chose to read pieces to honor famous poets like Shakespeare.

“You get to hear a bunch of poetry you would have never heard before,” Justice said. 

The first UK 24-hour poetry marathon gave students the ability to express themselves at a time that was convenient for them, no matter if it was at noon or 3 a.m.