Five of the top college poets in Connecticut read original and favorite poems to an intimate audience as the Connecticut Student Poetry Circuit visited Fairfield University on Monday night.
Fairfield’s own Molly Mellinger ’09 was among the finalists chosen to read their poetry on the circuit. “I have great respect for everyone else on the circuit and am having a great time so far,” she said.
Mellinger opened with an early poem of hers that she wrote in California and was a contrast of the east and west coasts. She followed that with two very personal poems about her childhood and her relationship with her parents.
“Whether it’s doomed or blessed, you have to return to childhood in your career,” she said just before reading the first of the two poems.
She seemed to delve more into the spiritual world as she concluded her exhibition. The fourth poem she read had been adapted from the Bible and included an opening quote from psalms, while her final poem was entitled “The Meaning of Life.”
Mellinger was met with glowing praise for her accomplishments both by Dr. Bridgford in her introduction and the audience in their ovations. The only slight criticism came from audience member Louise Schoyen, “her poetry was great but she really needed to speak up, I could barely hear her sometimes.”
The students were chosen from all throughout the state of Connecticut and represented a wide array of styles and topics. “Each student is nominated by his or her school and the final five are chosen by a panel of distinguished poets,” said Dr. Kim Bridgford who coordinated the event.
Jeff Schultz of Southern Connecticut State College was the last poet of the evening and provided the comic relief through a combination of his showmanship and quirky poetry. His poems, which he recited with a figurine of Yoda of the popular movie series Star Wars on his podium, included an ode to his favorite word, contrived, and a poem in which he buys the rights to an ex-girlfriend’s name.
Kelly Whinnem from Manchester Community College also wrote about significant others with a list of all her first kisses and two interrelated poems about a break up and infidelity. She added two other personal poems to her readings with one about her sisters and another on her genuine dislike for small children and love of swimming.
Yale student Rebecca Dinerstein took the idea of water and ran with it, reading a poem entitle “The Dam,” another about sailing in the New Haven Harbor and a third written during a heavy thunderstorm. To these, she added two more abstract poems, one titled “Flight and Suspension” and another that she said was an attempt to combine fiction and poetry.
Loren Davis of Trinity College focused her poetry more on her exotic travels and where her mind led her when experiencing the arts of another culture. They included poems about Egyptian statues of gods at a cathedral, the lost head of a golden Buddha statue in Tibet and a poem to the Greek god Apollo.
In her final poem, she basically explains what the ambition of all young poets probably is. “All it takes to make a legend is a poet and a believer.”