Poetry reading open to the public at Carole Chapel

Matthew L. Self

Washburn University welcomes the esteemed poet Ronda Miller to campus for a poetry reading at noon Friday, Feb. 15 in Carol Chapel. Miller brings with her selections of her own personal works to share with interested students who are looking for inspiration for their own writing, mingling with friends or simply listening to some stellar poetry for an hour. The poetry reading is an opportunity for students who hope to become poets themselves to learn how to get their own writing published and recognized by their peers.

The poetry reading will take place at Carole Chapel, located between Mabee Library and the Memorial Union building, which is recognized as a place of quiet thought and contemplation. The tall pine trees that surround the building lend credence to the feeling of solitude that one may feel while in the mountains, making it a perfect place for a poetry reading, especially when the poems will heavily feature many themes associated with the forces of nature.

Miller will be reading select pieces of her poetry from her two books that she has published, “MoonStain” and “Watersigns.” She will also read a few poems from her latest book “WindsOfTime.” She is a KU graduate who briefly attended Washburn and has a long history of reading and writing poetry.

She mentioned briefly about her past with poetry and how she became inspired to write.

“I started writing poetry at my grandparents’ home during grade school. Our house was located in Northwestern Kansas where the land formed unique and beautiful natural formations. It’s a very serene part of Kansas just west of Colorado and south of the Nebraska line,” Miller said. “I read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe and Walt Whitman when I was living with my grandparents. They had complete volumes of Edgar Allen Poe and some other poets that inspired my own writings.”

Dennis Etzel Jr., a senior lecturer of English at Washburn, enjoys Miller’s poetry.

“I love how she connects her poetry with the community. She works with people who are going through difficult times. I always see her at a Lawrence reading called ‘Words Save Lives’ that is about suicide awareness and prevention,” Etzel said. “She is very humble and open, and I love her work because of not only what she is doing to reach out to others but to also use poetry as a means of healing and therapy. She shows her own vulnerabilities as a strength.”

Miller talked about the importance of everyone’s particular voice in their poetry and advises that future poets use their own voice.

“Remember to appreciate your voice for it is as equally important as everyone else’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned poet. Don’t worry and don’t be insecure,” Miller said. “The poems you write are waiting out there for you to write them. Don’t be fearful of them, but instead meet those poems that you’re meant to write.”

This poetry reading is not only meant for English students or burgeoning poets at Washburn. Students of all majors can benefit from listening to poetry for an hour this Friday that has been written by a veteran poet and has been inspired by the natural beauty of our state.