Written by Eli Dean // Photo by Eli Dean
Harding welcomed poet Brad Leithauser to recite some poems from his new book “Rhyme’s Rooms: The Architecture of Poetry” on Nov. 2. The MacArthur Fellowship award-winning poet was invited to Harding after English Department Chair Jon Singleton read Leithauser’s book over the summer and was intrigued by the themes of his poetry.
“His book is the perfect book for people to be drawn back into poetry,” Singleton said. “He’s writing mostly for people that have read a little bit of poetry but have kind of grown away from it.”
For those who might not be into poetry, Singleton said that the way the book is constructed makes it readable to any type of poetry reader, from beginner to poetry enthusiast.
“When you read this book, it introduces you to one poet after another and all of these great poems you’ve never seen before,” Singleton said. “He gives you just enough to where it will make you want to read more.”
For Leithauser himself, his introduction to poetry came from his mother when he was a child, and he still holds those moments close to him as he furthers his career as a poetry writer.
“My mother was a poet when I was growing up, and when I was a child she would pay me a penny for every line of poetry that I would memorize,” Leithauser said. “So that was my first allowance: reciting lines of poetry.”
Several classes in the English department were in attendance for the event. Freshman Ella Fox said that she got a lot out of listening to Leithauser recite some of his and other poets’ poems.
“I am in the [Introduction to Literary Studies] class this year and Dr. Singleton recommended I come to listen to [Leithauser],” Fox said. “I thought it was really interesting because even though poetry isn’t really one of the aspects I’m looking into for my studies, I thought it was a good introduction into that world.”
One of the key talking points of the lecture was how Leithauser created his poetry and the situations in life that left him inspired to write poems. Fox said she liked how Leithauser explained that process and how he structured his poems.
“He talked a lot about his inspirations to his poetry and how he wrote some of his poems, and how he looked at poetry,” Fox said. “It was very different than a lot of other times I had been taught to look at poetry.”