When Baron Wormser isn’t teaching, listening to music or walking his dog, he is reading or writing poetry. A member of Fairfield University’s Masters of Fine Arts program since 2009, Wormser read from a collection of poems from his new book, “Unidentified Sighing Objects,” at Fairfield University’s Downtown Bookstore on Wednesday, Sept.30. This is Wormser’s ninth book.
Dr. Michael C. White, a professor of English at Fairfield, introduced Wormser and identified poetry as Wormser’s true calling. “He is first and foremost a poet,” White told the audience.
The Johns Hopkins’ alum moved to Maine in 1970 with his family, and it was there that he found ample inspiration for his poetry. In 2000, he was appointed Poet Laureate of Maine. The Governor of Maine chose Wormser to fulfill the honorary position for a five-year term. Wormser has received many awards, including the Frederick Bock Prize for poetry and the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry.
There were 50 eager listeners at the bookstore to hear Wormser speak, including Fairfield students, professors and admirers of his work. Junior Theresa De Palma attended as part of her creative writing classes, and said she enjoyed his poems and enthusiasm.
“It was interesting to hear the poetry read aloud as opposed to reading and analyzing it. I’m not a fan of poetry, but I’m very open to it now,” she said.
Throughout the evening, Wormser read poems and explained his motivation behind each one. He told the audience that he makes some things up, but also attempts to write true descriptions of others.
The topics of his poems range from movies, relationships, history, role models, places, etc.
He also explained that his style can be different with every poem he writes. “My poetry is a conversation between two forces throughout my career. There is formal and informal poetry,” he said. Wormser does not have a writing discipline, and he believes that at any moment, something could create a poem. “Everything is an experience in life. Language is even an experience. I might just see something, it could just be glimpse, and that could mean something,” he said.
Wormser had the audience in hysterics while reading one of his poems, “Ode to the DC5.” The audience also nodded their heads in agreement, as he read his poem “Ode to the Ghost Dancers,” a poem based on the Native American ghost dance ceremony that was representative of everything that had been taken from them.
“There was such emotion with every poem he read. It was great being able to hear him read his own words aloud,” Brynne Bartiromo ‘17 said.
Wormser wrapped up his reading with a final poem entitled “Leaving.” Before he read his poem, he told the audience that a former student who had worked in hospice had read the poem to one of her patients, and he was visibly touched that his poem had perhaps reached someone in that capacity.
After a night of poetry, there was a feeling of ease in the air. Wormser engaged the audience of all different ages and seemed to enjoy it just as much as the people in the seats. “For my poems, I am always in pursuit of perfection. But I know that just doesn’t happen. I will always be revising,” he said.