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Poetry Month Worth Celebrating at Meramec


Katelyn Delvaux

Katelyn Delvaux, MFA, had a creative spirit even at a very young age. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said a lion. Her practical parents, however, suggested she think of another option. So, her second choice was to become a writer.

Delvaux is now a poetry writer and assistant professor of English at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.

While a writing career can take one down many paths, few are as treacherous as a lion roaming the Serengeti. Fortunately for Delvaux, she had a knowledgeable guide to lead her along the way.

“I wanted to write the next great American novel until an astute creative writing professor in undergrad pointed out that I was writing poetry and trying to force it into prose,” Delvaux said. “Once I embraced my penchant for poetry, things just sort of clicked.”

This April, Delvaux, and others, are observing National Poetry Month, celebrating poetry’s integral role in society.

“To me, poetry is always the most direct way to take the pulse of a time, place and culture,” she said. “If you want to know what’s bothering the populace, look at what the poets are focused on.”

But does poetry really need its own national month? Delvaux says yes, because “in the United States, poetry tends to live in fiction’s cold shadow.”

“Every couple of years, some talking head will declare poetry dead, but it’s never true,” she said. “Poetry is always there waiting for you when you’re ready.”

STLCC-Meramec has multiple ways for students to get involved in poetry both inside and outside of the classroom. The Meramec Poetry Club, which meets on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center, provides members an opportunity to read and produce their own poetry, attend events and engage in discussions aimed to boost their writing.

For prospective poets who wish to see their work in print, Meramec’s literary magazine, “Currents,” allows students to submit their writings for publication. “Currents” also publishes flash fiction, short stories, creative nonfiction and visual art.

Much of Delvaux’s work can be viewed on her website, katelyndelvaux.com, as well as her upcoming events where she reads her poetry. Her next poetry reading is April 27 at Joe’s Café.

“The literary community is alive and well in St. Louis, and a large part of that is thanks to the St. Louis Poetry Center,” Delvaux said. “They organize readings, annual contests and even a monthly workshop where anyone is welcome to submit their poetry for round-table discussion hosted by notable authors.”

National Poetry Month

Delvaux says teaching poetry and creative writing is like being a therapist.

“We are tasked with helping people identify and tap into their emotions, as well as recall powerful moments in their lives all in an effort to help them write in a way that is effective and reaches their intended audience,” she said.

She went on to add that poetry isn’t just for those in the English department—it’s for everybody.

“There’s nothing I love more than reading a poet’s take on chemistry or mathematics,” she said, encouraging other professors to incorporate poetry into their teachings. “There is likely a poem out there that connects to your field of expertise. I challenge you to find one and read it to your class this month.”

For more resources on National Poetry Month, visit poets.org, the St. Louis County Library or STLCC libraries in person or virtually.

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