by Danielle Storley
Poet Kim Addonizio conjured the spirits of trains passing through from another time as she presented poetry and “train songs” played on the harmonica in a visit to the Pensacola Campus for a poetry workshop and speaking event on April 11.
Addonizio, an award-winning American poet, and novelist has been called “one of our nation’s most provocative and edgy poets.”
“Her poetry isn’t as simple as the red wheelbarrow (a poem by William Carlos Williams) but more inspiring. She’s the reason I love poetry,” said Christy Slack, who suggested Addonizio as a speaker.
Addonizio’s visit was sponsored by the Pensacola Campus Library and PSC literary magazine, The Hurricane Review.
Todd Neuman, an English professor and advisor to The Hurricane Review, introduced Addonizio with a quote from Keats – “Poetry better come as leaves to a tree, or better not become at all.”
During the workshop, Addonizio helped the audience place themselves in a mindset to write from a place of purity, starting from their deepest, most significant memories. She urged the attendees to tap into their feelings and simply start writing.
“It’s hard sometimes to slow down in the world we live in today and to get into a mindset and stay there long enough, it has to come out of you, and to know who you are when you get there,” said Addonizio
She then read poetry from authors that inspired her: William Mathews, Phillip Levine, Sharon Olds, Vincent Millay and Etheridge Knight.
“It affected me more than it did to write about it than to be in the moment,” said attendee Cassie Woods, who gained insight from the workshop.
During her speaking event, Addonizio read new pieces of poetry, such as “Spell Against Permanence”, “Post Modern Love Internet Dating”, and “Sleep Stage.”
A harmonica player for over 10 years, she also incorporated the blues into her performance, covering lively train songs from bluesmen Noah Lewis and DeFord Bailey.
“Poetry is an art and like anything else, like any sport, or any activity that takes practice. Even if you don’t get to play with the band, that doesn’t mean you can’t have pleasure in playing your instrument,” said Addonizio.