Inspiring poetry shared at Person Theatre

A small crowd of students and professors filed into the lobby of Person Theatre on Tuesday, for a poetry reading presented by Writers at Sonoma. Tables lined the walls filled with books of poetry by featured authors Julie Carr and Claudia Keelan. 

The poets began by introducing some of the pieces that would be shared in the reading. Although the event was held in a large venue, the theatre was encompassed with a small audience that created an intimacy that provided the poets the opportunity to reveal the inspiration behind their work. 

Carr, who is author of six books of poetry, including her most recent publication, titled “RAG,” began the evening with some of her best work. Her writing focused on concepts of feminism and racism and the oppression that girls and mothers experience in the home and racial discrimination in a social setting. 

Carr’s tone was solemn, yet powerful enough to convey the struggles that sexist and racial oppression brings to the current decade. Carr mainly focused on 14 line poems, in which she addressed as her own “joke on the sonnet.” Some of her titles included “Black and Red,” “Thirteen,” “The Male Body” and “In ‘N Out.” 

After sharing with the audience some of her sonnets, Carr read directly from her latest book, “RAG.” 

“I think of it more as a single long poem,” said Carr. “I’m going to read throughout the book to try to give you a sense of the shape of the page.”

In closing of Carr’s reading, she shared more sonnets entitled “Boredom,” “Love,” “The End,” “Healing” and “Adoration.” 

Keelan, who is also an author of six books of poetry, presented her book, “O Heart,” which actually began as documentary of the human heart before it was a book of poetry. In addition to her publications, she has received two awards: the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books and the Jerome Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review. 

She began her reading by sharing with the audience how her father, sister and husband all have heart issues and since then has always been interested in how the heart works. She examines the heart through different voices of people in her work, mostly in the perspective of “the woman.”

The readings were peaceful, inspiring and enjoyable to listen to.