Poetry Reading

Felicia Glover, Reporter

Students, faculty and staff members united for a poetry reading in celebration of  “90 Years of Mercy at Misericordia.”

Matthew Nickel, PhD. assistant professor of English, organized the event because he said poetry brings people together.

“Poetry readings are an integral part of my life. I like to host them, organize them, and read at them. I like to bring as many new people to listen and read, to learn how poetry can be a form of celebration that brings us closer together that shows us our own humanity. Given this is the 90th Anniversary of Misericordia, I thought a good way to celebrate was through poetry,” said Nickel.

The program began by Nickel passing out the song “I Am Only Me” written by Regina Kelly, RSM.  The melody was composed by Regina Werntz, RSM.  Jean Messaros, RSM, Vice President of Mission integration,  read the song and said it brought back great memories of singing with her fellow sisters.

“Honestly, Dr. Nickel gave the song to me and I was touched.  I was shocked he discovered it.  I wasn’t expecting that,” said Messaros.

Messaros said that Kelly, a retired academic dean, was an avid reader of Shakespeare and Werntz was a high school teacher.

Emily Halbing, senior english and psychology major, read her poem titled ‘Misericordia Grant Me Mercy.”

Halbing was very nervous about reading, but she was pleased with the experience.

” I always get nervous reading my own work in front of other people. Honestly, my voice shakes and my body overheats, but once you finish, it feels really great. Everyone is so welcoming, and no one is there to judge you.”

The process of writing  can be lengthy, and it involves patience, she said.

“Once I have an idea of what I want to write about, the rest comes pretty easily to me, even if it does take me a while to get whatever I’m writing to where I want it to be.”

Halbing said she found great support among faculty and spectators.

“The people who come to the readings really want to hear what you have to say. All of the teachers in the English department are amazing and so smart and always willing to help,” said Halbing.

Lauren Apgar, sophomore occupational therapy and psychology major, was inspired to share her feelings about Misericordia when she started to write.

“At first, I was writing the poem for my English professor Dr. Nickel, but as I was writing I realized I was doing so for myself. I love where I go to school, and I took it as an opportunity to share my experiences here at MU with others through my poem.”

Asia Thompson, sophomore English major, said practice makes perfect when writing poetry.

“People often get caught up in the structure and rhyming of poetry, but writing is one thing that I believe is completely individual, flexible and most importantly creative. There is only one you and no one else can write your story, so go for it.”

Students should feel encouraged to attend English departments writing events, Thompson said.

“I feel that if students do not participate, we will not be able to gauge the full potential of creativity amongst the student population at Misericordia. No matter what the major of the student, they could have great ideas and life experiences, which can help shape their writing, that only they could contribute,”  said Thompson.

Apgar suggests that those who struggle to write poetry or voice their opinions should just to try.

“No pressure. You have to start somewhere and you might even surprise yourself.  I sure did,” said Apgar.

“I think that the writing process could help others realize that they have much more in common with other students then they realize. It could also encourage our peers to contribute as well,” said Thompson.

“I hope this reminds students that celebrating our history can be both an enjoyable and enlightening experience. If nothing else, I hope it brings out students who are new to Misericordia and I hope they hear about what makes this a special place, ” said Nickel.

The reading took place Nov. 12 at  12:00 p.m. in the McGowan Room at the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library.