World Poetry Reading launches 44th UND Writers Conference to full house


Marti Elshaug

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World Poetry Reading launches 44th UND Writers Conference to full house

The University of North Dakota's 44th Annual Writers Conference kicked-off Tuesday, March 19, to a jam-packed room for the annual World Poetry Reading.

The event, which is in its second year, brings an international vibe to the Writers Conference with poetry readings done in the reciters' native languages, all designed to transcend political boundaries.

Heidi Czerwiec, Writers Conference co-director and associate professor of English said, "we started including the poetry readings into the Writers Conference because each language has its own music." Czerwiec added that it allows the conference to expand beyond English and American literature.

Check out the schedule of the rest of this week's Writers Conference events, which are all free and open to the public.

Mosab Bajaber, a UND English Ph.D. student and poetry event organizer, said he was very pleased at the standing-room-only audience of about 90 people.

"The idea behind it is that it showcases how the beautiful language of poetry defies barriers and that poetry is always appreciated by people worldwide," Bajaber said.

The poems were read from native speakers of countries, starting east and moving west, to follow Apollo the god of poetry, who is said to be responsible of the sun. The speakers read a poem in its original language, and then translated it for the audience. There were 15 different poems read.

The poems were chosen because they were either well known in the country they originated from, or they were written by famous poets. Most of the speakers chose their poem because it meant something to them.

Bajaber said poetry originated after the collapse of the Tower of Babel, which caused people to lose communication and instigated fights with one another.

"Poetry was a moment of defiance of the fall," he said, "because poetry transcends all the barriers of language, and I think it's something people might want to pay more attention to."

Marti Elshaug

University and Public Affairs student writer

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