Poetry Events at Pitt Titusville

Pitt Titusville is celebrating poetry for National Poetry Month in April, but the festivities start now. On March 19 the UPT Black Student Union is hosting a Maya Angelou Tribute Open Mic Night. Tenasia Law, a sophomore, has been a fan of Angelou’s work and along with Doug Foster and Ashle Hall has worked to create and initiate this program.

After seeing Angelou speak at Clarion University in 2010, Law was moved by what she saw. When asked where this idea came from, Law said, “I admire her and wanted to do something in honor of her. At first I was thinking it would be great to do for Black History Month but Stephanie Fiely pointed out to me that the month of March is Women's History Month and I thought the tribute would fall perfectly into place then.” It also helps UPT gear up for April’s National Poetry Month, which UPT will celebrate by hosting the Day of Poetry. When asked why Angelou is such a significant person, Law concluded, “She's significant because of her story, talent, success, and accomplishments. She's an inspiration.”

Maya Angelou was a writer, poet, actress, singer, and all around influential figure of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her work includes her acclaimed autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; some of her most recited poems include “Phenomenal Woman,” “And Still I Rise,” and “On the Pulse of Morning;” and many personal essays. The Maya Angelou Tribute Open Mic Night will take place at UPT in Boomer’s Café at 7:00 p.m. on March 19.

On April 9 UPT will host their annual Day of Poetry event. This event has been hosted at Pitt Titusville for over 30 years and is the product of the combined efforts of UPT faculty, Titusville Middle School and High School teachers, and the Titusville Council on the Arts. Over the past few years the Day of Poetry committee has been working to revive this program and to get local poets more involved with the event.

This year the Day of Poetry poet, Erie County Poet Laureate Cee Williams, will spend an hour at Titusville High School conducting a poetry writing workshop with the winners of the school’s poetry contest. At 3:00 p.m. he will head to UPT for an afternoon of poetry readings and offer another writing workshop for the UPT students and Titusville community.

As part of the Day of Poetry, Williams will read some of his original works, share his writing process, as well as lead students and community members through the poetry workshop. The Day of Poetry events will take place at the Haskell Auditorium from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public. In the evening, the auditorium will host the awards ceremony for the winners of the school’s poetry contest.

Please consider being a part of this year's event or attending some part of it. It was a great success last spring which had students read original works, community members participate, and faculty share their favorite poems. Please consider sharing your creativity and talents with the UPT community. If you are interested in participating please contact Meredith Kenyon at mkenyon@pitt.edu.

This event is made possible through partnerships with the Titusville Area School District * Titusville Council on the Arts * Pennsylvania Council on the Arts *John Nesbit and Sarah Henne Rees Charitable Foundation * University of Pittsburgh at Titusville