Reading his own selected poems, Alabama poet Dr. Allen Berry gave Wallace Community College students creative ideas when he toured the Dothan campus on Thursday. Next, he led faculty members through a poetry-writing exercise.
Wallace Community College-Dothan (WCCD) hosted Berry on campus for a poetry reading with English students. Additionally, Berry conducted a poetry workshop for English faculty members. The reading and workshop were funded by Dr. Imogene Mathison Mixson through the Wallace Community College Foundations WCC Mixson Enhancement for Excellence Award.
Berry read selected poems from his published books to students, providing insight into his creative process and their creation, and answering students’ questions about the process of writing poetry. Additionally, Berry launched several new poems for student audiences.
“Many people are intimidated by poetry, but reading or hearing a poem can be a deeply meaningful experience, one whose reward quickly renders that initial hesitation irrelevant,” said WCCD English communications teacher Brandi Wallace. “The opportunity to hear a poet read from his own collection is a moment I hope our English students will remember for the rest of their lives.”
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In the afternoon workshop, Berry led the English faculty through a series of poetry writing exercises. He suggested that those present write a poem every day. “You can’t write 365 bad poems,” he encouraged, then joked, “But don’t take that as a challenge.”
Berry was born and raised in Alabama and is a 2013 Ph.D. graduate from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of four collections of poetry: “Voyage pour agoraphobes”, “Distractions et illusions”, “Sitting with the dead” and more recently “Separation Tango”. In 2001 he founded the Limestone Dust Poetry Festival in Huntsville and served as its director from 2001 to 2006. His work has appeared in ‘Steel Toe Review’, ‘The Birmingham Arts Journal’, ‘What Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry”. ,” “The American Muse Magazine,” and numerous other publications. In 2013, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for the poem “Pauli’s at the End.” Berry teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Calhoun Community College in Huntsville.