Peotic Prizes

MiMi Yeh

This month has seen an outpouring from the arts, with the Watermark open mic readings, visiting authors, the formation of the UMB Poetry Circle, and student written plays. The latest literary offering, co-sponsored by the Student Senate, Watermark, and Academy of American Poets, comes in the form of David Rivard, award winning poet and presenter of the Academy of American Poet’s prize to UMB student Marguerite McGrail with honorable mentions going to Sarah Balut and Ellen Ford.

Rivard, though never having won the Academy of American Poets prize, has been the recipient of several other awards including a fellowship from the Massachusetts Arts Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Rivard is a Cambridge resident and UMass Dartmouth graduate who teaches at Tufts University and the Vermont College M.F.A. in Writing Program and acts as Poetry Editor at the Harvard Review. He has recently published a collection of poems called The Bewitched Playground.

In the course of his reading, he pulled poems from his past, recalling the days of the 60s in whimsical rants describing hallucinatory visions that are “in your mouth” with heavy emphasis upon the “physical quality of imagery.” In his remembrances of working in a curtain factory at the tender age of twenty, he weaves in themes and sensations of frustration in the story telling “Torque,” where he details a search for loose parts and wanting to shoot animals.

Bewitched Playground is a frank, disjointed monologue, which startles the reader with its seemingly random stream of consciousness approach to the world of poetry, starting with one thought and meandering into the niches of his psyche. The unconnected wordplay is shuttled through dusty corridors of unrelated remembrances. One could get lost within the realm of the Bewitched Playground without fully discovering the meaning of the poems within.