Santee Frazier reads an excerpt from her recent collection of poetry
On Thursday, September 30, members of the Five College community gathered at 6 p.m. in the Old Chapel of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to listen to poet and professor Santee Frazier read and discuss his most recent works.
Frazier’s Reading was the first event in UMass’s Guest Writers Series. The series has been taking place since December 2019, featuring growing and established writers in the fields of poetry, fiction and non-fiction for more than five decades at UMass. The program is organized in collaboration with the UMass MFA for Poets and Writers and the English Department, among other sponsors.
Levi Pulford, a graduate student at the MFA for Poets & Writers, chose to attend the event because he felt ââ¦ it is really important to participate in literary citizenship and [be a] part of the literary community and [support] fellow writers and poets who visit.
Another MFA for Poets & Writers graduate student, Shashank Rao, noted that it was a great way to connect with other members of the creative writing community.
âIt’s nice to see everyone participating in the program and to gain support,â said Rao.
Jeff Parker, MFA Program Director, kicked off the event by introducing Santee Frazier to the audience. Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and owns two collections of poetry – his first, Dark Thirty, was published in 2009, while his second most recent, Aurum, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2019.
“This ritual of sunrise, of the shovel …” Ore body
As Frazier took the stage, he explained his decision to have his poems projected behind him. While this was originally done to host Zoom events, Frazier explained that it allowed him to preserve the âvisual artâ of poetry while reading to the crowd.
Frazier reflected on the three distinct aspects he explores in his writing. Frazier writes ritual-based poems, featured in his Aurum collection, while some poems that he finds himself “forced to write”. Another avenue he seeks to explore is through recurring character Mangled Creek Bed, the embodiment of Native American struggles and experiences in the Southwestern United States.
“The day begins in a hazy and uproar …” Aubade
Throughout the reading, which included poems, âCHAAC,â âLode,â âLactification,â and âHalf Life,â among many others, Frazier allowed some of his works to speak for themselves. , while others spent time dissecting and reflecting on the themes and stories behind their creation.
After reading the poem âHalf Life,â Frazier explained how it developed over a five-year period during which he traveled across America by train. Frazier established a ritual during his travels that guided his writing; At each stop, he disembarked and wrote only three lines before leaving. On the way back, he finished each of the three lines at each corresponding stop.
“[There is] something liberating by taking five years to write a poem, âFrazier said. He noted that in modern times there is pressure to âproduce, create, create. [This is] in fact antithetical to the idea of ââpoetry.
Graduate student Levi Pulford added: âI really enjoyed the way [Frazier] sort of framed that stretch of time.
“[The idea] to allow you to be an artist rather than focusing on producing material. Especially as an artist there is this pressure to have your first book published before the age of thirty, âPulford said.
“… all I have to offer / is the noise of the road in my inner ear.” Lode
Tristan Prather, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in French, said attending Frazier’s reading resonated with him as someone who enjoys writing in moments of free time. âSeeing the writing and hearing it – especially with poetry – hearing it play is a really good way to consume it,â Prather said.
âFor the past hour, I’ve been wondering how the page continues beyond the bounds of the actual ending,â said Dahlia Riddington, a freshman in English and Creative Writing.
“[Frazier] said something likeâ¦ the poem is an engraving of the actual page. That the page is the language, and the poem is only a sculpture [from that]. “
You can reach Grace Fiori at [emailÂ protected] and followed on Twitter @grace_fiori.