Eastern Alumna & Published Poet Visits Campus

For as long as I can remember, I felt like I was born on this earth for one reason: to write. When I was little, one of my elementary school teachers handed out an activity where we had to draw a picture of ourselves, as well answer the accompanying questions. After drawing a sloppy version of myself, I went on to answer the questions. One of the questions was ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ With determination and a pink colored pencil, I wrote down what would eventually become my life goal, to become a writer. Since I enrolled at Eastern, I have seen my writing grow and bloom into something I never thought it could become, especially my poetry. However, the daunting question always looms over my head, “Will I ever be good enough to get published?”

Recently, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, an Eastern Alumna and now published poet, visited campus to give a craft lecture on gaining inspiration from old documents and artifacts for poetry writing. She also gave a poetry reading from her most recently published book, “Letters From Limbo.” I had the pleasure of attending both events. The first was a craft lecture held in the Baird Library for Professor Hayes’ Advanced Writing Poetry class, and although I am not in the class, anyone was welcome to sit in on the lecture. Sitting in on this lecture not only gave me the opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of publishing, but gave me newfound inspiration and confidence going forward.

In this session, Beaumont opened the floor to anyone who had questions, and the most prominent revolved around publishing. She went on to give publishing advice, such as if you are interested in submitting work, that you should probably start with local journals, and then branch out to more well-known ones. She also said don’t be afraid to submit. If you believe in your writing, and you believe it’s good enough, it will show through. Since her newest collection revolves around the use of old documents, she also had an activity with some older documents for us to look at such as postcards, old menus, and photos. She told us to choose one and write down what we noticed about it, and to create a narrative based on the story you thought the item was telling you.

Later on, a poetry reading was held in the Baird Library, where she read poems from her collection. Not only that, but she gave context to her experiences while writing the collection. There was also an opportunity to buy her book, as well as get it signed, and have a little conversation. Meeting Beaumont gave me the opportunity to talk to someone who not only went to Eastern, but who went on to publish three poetry books, and become a winner in The National Poetry Series. Given the opportunity, I told her that it gave me hope to see an Eastern graduate go on to become published. She responded by saying, “I hope that one day you can do it too!”

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