A Commitment to Poetry: Don Berger reads at Terpoets

Shannon Mooney
Online Editor

“Before coming here, I turned to my poems and had a long talk with them,” said Don Berger, a creative writing professor at the University of Maryland professor. “Along the way, some of them made it into his folder.”

Berger was the feature at Tuesday’s Terpoets, where he read several poems, some which have been published, and some which were fairly new. Berger has published a book of poems and a chapbook, and has had his poems published in various literary journals, including The New Republic and The Iowa Review.

The evening began with poetry readings from eight students during the open mic portion of the event.

One student read a poem that was described as his interpretation of the song “America, Fuck Yeah.” The piece ironically praised American society while criticizing the nation for negative aspects, like slavery.

Sophomore Lenaya Stewart, a member of the Writers’ House, also read three of her poems. “Personally I edit best when speaking and reading my poetry out loud,” she said. “So I like Terpoets because it gives me a chance to read and edit.”

Berger read for about an hour after the open mic. He occasionally joked with the audience, keeping the atmosphere intimate and comfortable. He was soft spoken and his poetry was generally light, containing occasional quirky lines that evoked laughter from the audience.

Perhaps the most interesting piece he read was an excerpt from a long poem called “The Blue Hour.” Berger and a poet friend worked on the piece for a year, each writing a different stanza every day over email.

“It was a commitment,” Berger said. “When it was over, my life felt hollow for a while.”

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