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Poetry Reading Packs Cafe


"I am collecting eggs to swallow / whole, hoarding their shapes in my long body / I am the snake that lies quiet, still in the sun."

These are the words of Virginia S. Loo '96, one of four Asian-American poets who performed last night at a poetry and literature reading held in Harvard Yard.

More than 50 students packed Harvard's Cafe Gato Rojo to listen to the verses of Loo and the other poets, all of whom reflected on their life experiences during the two-hour reading.

The event, sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian-American Association (AAA), featured the work of two students currently at Harvard and two professional writers.

Loo, the cultural co-chair of AAA, said she is happy to see wellattended poetry events at Harvard and hopes to see more events like last night's.

"I think it's really great, and I want to organize a poetry slam--with a slate of readers in rotation and audience judges," Loo said.

Loo is not alone in her excitement for more artistic events. Sewell Chan '98, Educational/Political co-chair of AAA, organized the poetry reading and other cultural events.

"We basically organize a series of panels, discussions or readings and attempt to show the diversity of perspectives which Asian-Americans have," said Chan, who is a Crimson editor.

"It's nice how we had students from a wealth of different Asian ethnicities since it is one of AAA's goals to reflect the diversity of Asian cultures," Chan added.

S. Monica Ferrell '97 also read her poetry. A friend of Ferrell's saw her poetry in a magazine and suggested that she get involved in last night's event.

Ferrell's reading included the following passage: "empty streets Madrid, empty / streets Paris, empty streets / New York; even if your shape / were to haunt these byways do / you know they would still be empty / since your soul is never / was never in it."

Ferrell said she is pleased by the increased popularity which poetry is currently enjoying nationwide.

"I think that the image of [poetry] has started changing, since before people thought of it only as in an English class," Ferrell said.

"Writing and appreciating poems is important to people understanding themselves, and it opens up another form of expression," Ferrell added.

Rosanna Y. Alfaro '60, a playwright and author, and Daryl N. Chinn, a poet-teacher-editor, also performed their writings.

Alfaro said that she was happy to return to Harvard to read her writing, and she noted the increased diversity of the student body.

"When I was at Radcliffe there were only three Asian-Americans in the class. It's so exciting that Harvard has changed so much," Alfaro said.

Alfaro said poetry readings are important "because of a love of language. It's fascinating to hear four completely different styles and ways of looking at the world."

Chinn's verses included the following: "I'm trying to keep him alive--/ no, I can't do that--/ I want to keep the memory of him alive--/ no, I want to keep his memories alive, / because conversations with my dad are never over."

Chinn, whose son is currently a first-year student at Harvard said, "poetry readings are important, because people need to connect with one another."

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