by CATHERINE BRADY
Students gathered late in the evening on Tuesday, September 23 to celebrate and listen to recently published Manhattanville College professor Joseph Fasano read a selection of his poems. The reading was held in the central periodical room of the library. Fasano read five poems to the audience of students and various faculty members from his recently published book of poems Inheritance which was published spring of this year. This book differs from his last one published in 2013 Fugue for Other Hands by Fasano incorporated longer and more meditative pieces in comparison to the more lyrical ones in the past.
Fasano awakened the audience with his sense of passion and sincerity as he read his poems. He introduced three out of the five poems read to be ekphrasis poems, meaning images inspired him to write. Displaying them on the screen as spoke the verses, the images shown were breathtaking and horrific. Fasano describes them as “disquieting and dialectic”.
Fasano, a 7th year Manhattanville teacher and Harvard graduate, informed the audience that poetry has the power to wake us up. Bring attention to important subjects. He spoke a lot about affirmation and the aspects of it in his writing. In his words affirmation means, “engaging the modern world without confronting horrors.” As a writer he finds it hard to say yes to affirmation because he questions if it mean saying yes and forgiving the many man-made tragedies we see each day. It is an ongoing struggle for many authors such as Fasano.
Manhattanville students who wish to follow in Fasano’s footsteps could take some of the advice he dished out. He told the audience that one must find out who they are as a poet. Tone and stance are highly relevant. Finding your voice is the key. Manhattanville students specifically must also take advantage of their liberal arts college and take classes outside of their major. He advised to take on the experience of taking classes that are of interest to you.
Fasano is not the first of the Manhattanville teachers to publish their own work. Librarian Elaine Provenzano, who organized the poetry reading, says she sets up functions like this all the time. Manhattanville professor such as other English professors such as Paul Levitz, and Van Hartmann also Music Professor Mary Ann Joyce Walter, and Asian Studies Professor Theresa Kelleher have participated in such events over the years. She often collaborates with the on–campus bookstore creating a cross promotion for both involved. The bookstore comes to the readings and allows the book to be available to purchase following the presentation. Many students took advantage of this opportunity during the reading on Tuesday and even had Fasano sign their copy.
In addition to poetry reading’s, Provensano features many of the teacher’s other works through what she likes to call the Faculty Lecture Series. You can find poster around campus of the lectures going on that week. The lectures include professor run summer projects, where they share their work and findings. The lectures are usually based on specific majors making it very simple to find something of interest for curious students.
She believes functions such as the poetry readings have a huge affect on the Manhattanville community. They are a source of inspiration for the faculty and students.