On Monday Feb. 15, 2016, poetry lovers gathered in Karp Hall’s Performance Classroom at 5 p.m. to listen to readings from three talented poets.
Organized by Union’s Associate Professor of English, Bunkong Tuon, the event was attended by students, faculty and community members.
Professor Kara Doyle, Chair of the English Department, introduced the poets.
Each poet read a selection of their works from different collections.
Alan Catlin was the first poet to read his works.
According to Doyle, Catlin has been publishing in a variety of outlets since the 1970s.
Catlin’s poetry focused primarily on Schenectady and the violent culture that is present in some of the neighborhoods.
Many of his poems were set on Becker Street and chronicled violent crimes, such as attacks and shootings, that occured there.
Professor Doyle introduced Bunkong Tuon next, explaining that he was born in Cambodia and escaped to refugee camps in Thailand before immigrating to the United States.
Tuon’s poetry, some of which he dedicated to long-time friend Professor April Selley, covered a wide array of subjects.
His first poem discussed the racism he had experienced living as an Asian American.
Another one of his poems discussed his father, whom he never got the chance to meet and as a result often imagines the type of person he was.
Tuon’s next reading was a touching poem about his experience as a new father watching his infant daughter sleep.
Tuon’s final poem, dedicated to Professor Jillmarie Murphy, discussed the harsh struggles endured by migrant workers in Cambodia.
The final poet to read was Tony Gloeggler, a resident of New York City whose work focuses on his experiences working with mentally and developmentally handicapped.
He read a number of stirring works about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend’s autistic son.
The poems revealed the incredible degree to which Gloeggler, who has struggled with illness for several years, has sought to communicate with those who are disabled.
The event offered a wide variety of poetry, both funny and emotional, ultimately leaving audience members with a great deal to ponder.