Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Poet Susan Briante Visits Roosevelt

Susan Briante is one cool poet. On Tuesday, February 17th, she stopped by Roosevelt University to talk to students about writing, including the composition of her acclaimed chapbook, Pioneers In the Study of Motion (Ahsahta Press).

Susan wrote Pioneers to express her experiences in Mexico City. "I tried to avoid the first person, so that I wouldn't insinuate myself as an authority on Mexico," Susan said. Instead, the poems in Pioneers incorporate keen, revealing observations, as well as allusions to and quotations from other authors (naturalists, psychologists, etc.).

Click here for excerpts from Pioneers In the Study of Motion.

"After finishing each poem, I became fearful that I'd never be able to write another one," Susan admitted. "But not having a thread to pick up can be refreshing."

Susan also read from her second, upcoming collection, which shifts the focus to her own culture in the United States. Specifically, to Texas. "Better Than Paris," for example, takes a fresh look at Dallas while roaming through subjects like astronomy, ornithology, politics, and Herman Melville. In "The Sidewalk," Briante conveys an amazing sense of shifting settings, from the urban to the edenic.

"I'm interested in poetry's potential to be documentary," Susan concluded. A former journalist, she realized that she was "more interested in the scar on a superintendent's chin than the school budget meeting I was supposed to be reporting on!"

All of us at Roosevelt extend a huge thanks to Susan for stopping by, sharing her work, and sharing her insights.

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