By Erica Dunigan
The English department invites a well known poet to speak to students and the public March 29 from 6-9 p.m. in the conference room located in Deets Library. There will be no admission charge.
The poets name is W.D. Ehrhart. He is an American poet, writer, scholar and Vietnam War veteran. Ehrhart is the author and editor of 19 poetry books. A couple poems that Ehrhart has written are, “Music Lessons,” “Life in the Neighborhood,” and “Coaching Winter Track in Time of War.”
Stacy Harkness, English senior, said, that she has read some of Ehrhart’s poems in some of her classes. “Some of his poems are about war,” she said. “The poems speak a lot to me because my dad was in Vietnam.”
Ehrhart has had some of his writing appear in hundreds of publications including the “Los Angeles Times,” and “American Poetry Review.” Besides having his work published, Ehrhart has spoken at Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Oxford University, and many other well known locations.
Harkness said with Ehrhart being a Vietnam veteran and the experience he has helps him write very powerful poetry. “His experiences helps the audience understand what it was like for those people who fought in the war,” she said. “As a reader I feel that it is important to understand what happened.”
Currently Ehrhart teaches English and history at the Haveford School in suburban Philadelphia. He has been the recipient of many awards. This past Novemenber he received the Rafael Lasema Outstanding Teacher Award. The award was presented by the Class of 2011.
Michelle Boucher, associate professor of English, said, “Ehrhart gives our students an opportunity to become acquainted with a professional writer who is well known in his genre.”
Last year the English department had poet Red Hawk come to Southwestern to speak to students and the public.
Stephanie Wilson, English junior, said, that last year when the poet Red Hawk came to campus was her first poetry reading. “Having a guest speaker, especially published writers and poets, come speak on campus is always exciting,” she said.
Both Harkness and Wilson said that people should expect for the poet to speak about his inspiration and writing methods and for the poet to read some of their poetry. Also the poet should give personal insight to specific poems.
“I’m hoping to gain knowledge that is hard to find in normal class settings,” said Wilson. “There is so much a student can learn from guest speakers such as Red Hawk and W.D. Ehrhart.”
Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at email@example.com