The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham hosts poetry reading featuring Joy Katz and Anne Fisher-Wirth

On Tuesday, February 11, a small crowd of Chatham students and faculty gathered in Mellon Board Room to hear poets Joy Katz and Anne Fisher-Wirth read their work. The Chatham University MFA in Creative Writing Program sponsored the event that was not only a poetry reading, but also a book signing.

The event started with the introduction of both poets. Joy Katz, who also teaches at Chatham, was the first one to read her work.  Katz read a selection of poems from her latest book “All You Do Is Perceive”. When talking about the meaning behind the title of the book Katz said, “The book is about perception,” as she is interested in how people misperceive.

The first poem Katz read was initially about two people that meet, and how one keeps following the other around. Katz said that the poem was about narcissism and that it was a self-hating poem. The second poem was called “Suicide Cascade”. Katz said that this poem was about things not looking like what they really are. She also mentioned in the poem that it was about the saddest time in her life.

The third poem was called “Buffalo” and Katz said that it was about her childhood. The fourth poem was called “The Imagination Drunk with Prohibitions” and throughout the poem Katz compared two situations, with one being more embarrassing than the other. Katz called it a grandmother poem.

One of the last poems that Katz read took place in a concentration camp in Prague that Katz visited in 1992. The last poem ended where the previous poem left off. “There were a few; the one about the concentration camp in Prague. That one I really liked,” Roberta Borger, a graduate student, said when asked which poem was her favorite.

Anne Fisher-Wirth was next to read her poems. Most of the poems that she read were from her most recent book called “Dream Cabinet”. The first poem Fisher-Wirth read was about her mother’s journey on her way to college. The second was called “Heretic Narrative”. Fisher-Wirth said that the poem was about how she has been chain smoking since she was 13 years old and how she had kept it a secret.

Before reading the third poem, “Sweet Gum Country”, Fisher-Wirth said that she had students in the past that did environmental projects about the neighborhood they grew up in. The poem starts off with addressing two of those students and continues on to discuss poverty and people’s experiences in Mississippi where Fisher-Wirth currently lives.

The fourth poem was called “Overall a Mist of Sweetness” and it talks about her time in Washington State. It discusses different experiences she had with nature. The fifth poem was called “Southern Music” and it was about one of her neighbors, a teenage boy that talked in animal voices. Fisher-Wirth said that this poem would be easier to read if she were drunk–but that she wasn’t–and the audience laughed.

Fisher-Wirth then showed the audience a PowerPoint which was a collaboration that she is working on with a photographer. Fisher-Wirth wrote poems to go along with the photographs that were shown on the screen; she also read some of the poems. Fisher-Wirth said that the collaboration wasn’t yet finished.

After the reading was over there was a short Q&A with the poets. “I thought it was really exciting to hear Joy read. I hadn’t heard her read before so it was nice to hear her,” Tess Wilson, a graduate student, said when asked what she thought about the event.  “All You Do Is Perceive” and “Dream Cabinet” are available in stores now.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Communiqué Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *