By Christin Howard
Chelsea Woodard, a Union graduate and recently published poet, agreed to give a recitation from her new book of poems on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. in the new Karp Hall performance classroom.
Woodard — young, beautiful and clad in a sensibly fashionable outfit — entered the room with a gracious and excited smile and proceeded to read a number of her incredibly beautiful poems.
Woodard graduated from Union nearly 10 years ago, with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts and English, and proceeded to earn a Master of Fine Arts from John Hopkins and a doctorate from the University of North Texas. She now teaches creative writing and English in New Hampshire.
Most of Woodard’s poems were from her new book, “Vellum” — a wonderfully unique collection filled with poems that demonstrate Woodard’s inimitable style and beautiful flow. Her poems ranged from a superbly mournful description of her pet bird, to a funny yet poignant recount of her first glimpse at pornography, to a breathtaking sestina about her father’s childhood.
Woodard read a few of her newer, not-yet-published poems, which carried with them a sense of wonder and excitement for the audience. As a tribute, she also read an astoundingly sad poem by the recently deceased and heralded poet Claudia Emerson, who lost her fight with cancer this year.
Woodard concluded her reading with a poetic retelling of the Greco-Roman myth of Philomela.
I spoke with Woodard briefly after the recitation and found her amiable and charming personality almost as appealing as her emotional, thought-provoking and moving poetry.