Poetry can bring together many different kinds of people from many different walks of life. Apeiron, held on April 19, showcased several different categories of poetry written by Washburn University students. Apeiron is an outlet for students to express themselves academically and artistically.
The first set of poems read were entitled “Which Box Do I Check?: (Multi)cultural Voices in Poetry.” These poems were written and read by Erica Faulkinbury, Samara Harper and Stephanie Teater. Each one of these women are multicultural, each one of them has had their own journey in accepting their culture and each expressed their journey through poetry.
Faulkinbury was the first to read her poems. She had two poems entitled “My Ancestors” and “Who am I?” These poems explored her heritage and ancestry as a half Mexican American and half white individual.
“I was recently told that I was white-passing, and I really didn’t like that. So I wanted to explore both sides of me fully, so I was comfortable being who I am, even if I am light-skinned,” said Faulkinbury.
Harper is a visual artist who often writes poetry to accompany her physical art pieces. She describes her art as “an exploration of ideas concerning heritage, culture, outward appearance and how those things affect the self.” The poems she read for the crowd entitled “Past” and “Printmaking” explored her own mixed heritage with roots in Mexican and Native American culture.
Teater read a poem she wrote titled “Half-and-Half.” This poem was written to explore the Filipino side of her family that she wasn’t familiar with as well as address some of the stereotypes of being biracial. She spoke on her lack of knowledge about Filipino culture and the barriers that she came across, such as not understanding the language, that kept her from learning about it.
The next set of poems were centered around mental health and healing. This category was titled “Home as Mental Health: Poems.” The two artists performing their poetry for this set were Faulkinbury and Kristie Smith.
Both of these poets were using their medium to express the difficulty of dealing with mental illness from their own personal experiences
Faulkinbury and Smith read very vulnerable and exposing poems. Many audience members applauded their strength in opening up about their struggles.
“When thinking about writing a story about something so hard to talk about you have to make sure you are personally ready and it won’t reopen your emotional wounds to talk about it,” said Smith.
The last set of poems read came from the category “Poets Assembled: Poems based on Comic Books and Their Films.” These poems were read by Annette Turrentine, Adam White and Jennifer Zimmer.
Turrentine read her poem entitled “Sector 438” which is centered around the character of a blue lantern from the “Green Lantern” series of comic books. He sees Earth as a foreign place and doesn’t understand why it is in such turmoil.
White’s poem, “Nora,” was from the perspective of Mr. Freeze, a villain from the Batman comic books, and his yearning for his wife Nora who he had frozen to search for a cure for her disease.
Lastly, Zimmer read a poem about everyday superheroes and how they are very different from those in the comic books and movies.
Turrentine and White wrote about their favorite comic characters because they had very personal ties to these stories as an escape from the real world.
I have always been very quiet and shy and I wanted an outlet to bring me out of my shell,” said Turrentine. “I found that with comic books and superheroes.”
Zimmer wanted to have an outlet to write about her high school art teacher that helped her realize her worth through her art.
Every year Apeiron showcases various talented students and their work. This year’s group of poets explored many different facets of poetry.