English department hosts first poetry reading of the year

Curtis Crisler, of Fort Wayne In., 53, is a associate professor at Purdue University and received his B.A. in English. Crisler is reading to students to start off the Creative Writing reading series in cherry hall in room 125. He starts off  the poetry reading with his latest book the  Grey Album with the poem Living in Grey. Crisler got into poetry in the fourth grade and started to get serious in the 90s about publishing.

Nicole Ziege

WKU’s English department kicked off its annual Creative Writing Reading Series with a poetry reading from Curtis Crisler, associate professor in the Department of English and Linguistics at Purdue University.

Crisler read from three of his published poetry collections, including his most recent, “THe GRey aLBuM,” which was published on March 5. About 30 students listened in as he read poems relating to music, art, his childhood in Gary, Indiana, and the celebrity deaths of Prince and Aretha Franklin.

“If you’re writing and your voice is connecting to people, that’s all you need,” Crisler said, giving advice to the students in attendance.

Crisler said he started writing poetry when he was in the fourth grade, writing a poem about famous professional baseball player Jackie Robinson for Black History Month. He said he continued his passion for poetry and writing as he continued into high school and into his adult life.

Crisler said he is influenced by many forms of music when creating his poetry, and he wanted to make his poetry sound more musical to the reader.

“I try to bridge the gap between the performance and what you read,” Crisler said.

Brodie Gress, of Bretzville, Indiana, is a second-year WKU graduate student studying fiction writing. He said he attended the event both as part of a required assignment for his graduate workshop and as a fan of poetry.

Gress described Crisler’s work as fantastic and enjoyed how he portrayed his home state of Indiana in a more lyrical and rhythmic way.

“I got so lost listening to it,” Gress said. “There is a certain musicality to it.”

Tom Hunley, a creative writing professor at WKU, said that Crisler is the first of several creative writers for the Creative Writing Reading Series. He said there will be a guest speaker in November to commemorate the 22nd annual Mary Ellen and Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing.

Hunley said that several fiction writers, poets and memoirists have been part of the Creative Writing Reading Series in the past.

“It’s a great chance for our students to hear their work,” Hunley said.

Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Nicole Ziege on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.