‘Poetry at Rose’ awards creativity


Lynnette Spaeth

Student Reporter

RSC presented its 26th annual “Poetry at Rose” Friday, March 7, in the H.B. Atkinson Theatre, featuring readings by faculty and the presentation of the James Axley Creative Writing Awards.

The Axley Awards, as they are more commonly known, “were established in 1994 to honor the memory of Dr. James Axley,” who served as the faculty editor of  RSC’s literary publication, Pegasus, for  a decade and taught creative writing, according to an official RSC statement.

“Dr. Axley was one of the original Poetry at Rose readers. Since his death, Rose State has presented awards each year for excellence in poetry writing and fiction writing,” according to the event program.

The evening opened with jazz and pop music stylings by the Rose State Chamber Singers.

The Axley Award for poetry writing went to Renee Royka for her poem “Silence,” and the Merit Award for Poetry went to Frank Falsarella for his poem, “A Moment before Sunset on the Seashore.” Morgan Kirkes won the Axley Award for fiction with “A Minute in the Mile,” and the Merit Award for fiction went to Nathaniel Tucker for “Sunflower and Sandstone.”

Retired RSC professor and former Oklahoma Poet Laureate Carl Sennhenn reads from his award-winning poetry collection in 2013; Sennhenn was among poets who read at 2014’s “Poetry at Rose.” (Photo by Skylar Wright)

Retired RSC professor and former Oklahoma Poet Laureate Carl Sennhenn reads from his award-winning poetry collection in 2013; Sennhenn was among poets who read at 2014’s “Poetry at Rose.” (Photo by Skylar Wright)

Poets who read their work included former RSC President Terry Britton and professors Jim Hochtritt, Trixie Walther and Carl Sennhenn; professor Noelle Merchant was unable to attend. 

The evening’s guest poet was New York Times best-selling author and RSC adjunct professor William Bernhardt, who read a collection of his work.

“It is a special opportunity for me to be here.  I was last here in sixth grade for a play, and here I am again almost 20 years later,” he said. “One of my colleagues said everyone’s been talking about me, and I said they were making a titanic mistake.

“I was going through an old box the other day and came across a bunch of old poems I had written, which is what my first poem, ‘The White Bird,’ came from. (I) just found out on Wednesday that it will be nominated for an Oklahoma Book Award on April 12,” he said. “I hope to follow the footsteps of Carl Sennhenn.”

Sennhenn, has won many awards for his poetry and was named 2001-2002 poet laureate of Oklahoma

bernhardt

The New York Times best-selling author and RSC adjunct professor William Bernhardt read poetry from a collection of his work at the 26th annual “Poetry at Rose” Friday, March 7, in the H.B. Atkinson Theatre. (Photo courtesy of William Bernhardt)

Bernhardt read his poem, “Dina and Me,” about his love for his cat, and the poem “An Offspring,” about his love for his son.

“To me, poetry and music are very similar.  They both have sounds, pitch and rhythm.  Rhyme is all the sonic appeal,” he said.

He next got the audience involved with his rap poetry.  He wrote a mystery musical, “Rue Morgue,” in which Billie, the poem’s lead female role, sings a song to get people to understand “The Mysteries of Love.” At this point, Bernhardt brought in special guest Lara Wells to sing while he accompanied her.

As he concluded, he honored the Humanities Division faculty for enlightening their students, because “we need more art.” His final poem was “Testament.”

“This world needs songs, poetry and laughter, and that is what I promised,” Bernhardt said.

A reception followed in the Student Center Main Dining Room.  The next Poetry at Rose will be March 6, 2015.

 

 

 

 

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