American poet Roger Reeves visited Seton Hall virtually as he read some of his work on Oct. 27 as part of the Poetry-in-the-Round series.
Reeves is the author of a collection of poems titled “King Me” and is in the process of writing his second collection. He earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas, where he currently serves as an associate professor.
Reeves has also won several awards including the Whiting Award, Pushcart Prize and Larry Levis Reading Prize. Reeves’ other honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and Princeton University.
Reeves read several of his poems at the event, including “Grendel,” “American Landscaping, Philadelphia to Mount Vernon” and “Someday I’ll Love Roger Reeves.”
In many of his poems, Reeves made references to hip-hop and included lyrics from popular songs in his works. Reeves said hip-hop and jazz have been influential in his writing.
“One of the things that, to me, is profound about hip-hop is the way that it understood postmodernism as poetics, probably better than most poets that do postmodernism,” Reeves said. “What I mean by that is its ability to move associatively, its ability to cite, reference, break apart, fragment and really understand it as a fragmented speaker.”
Reeves also said he is drawn to the theme of territory and adventure that is present in jazz, where the idea of a fragmented speaker is really present.
Reeves added that his writing is inspired by multiple outside factors in addition to his own experiences. Reeves said his poem “American Landscaping” is based on the sights around his home in Chicago. He that he sees strange landscapes or buildings where he lives every day that soon came to inspire him; he described himself as being moved to write about all of these weird sights.
“Eventually, I was like, ‘I have to write a poem about all this material,’” Reeves said.
Reeves said that he usually writes what he feels inspired or moved by and advises other writers to do the same.
“Write what comes to you,” Reeves said. “Just write what you find beautiful; write what you find necessary.”
Clare Donnelly, a sophomore education major, attended the event and said she was amazed by Reeves’ poetry.
“I absolutely loved his reading voice, and his content was very powerful,” Donnelly said.
Although she had never heard of him before the event, Donnelly said she is now a fan of the poet and intends to buy his collection of poems, “King Me.”
Aubrey Casterline, a senior creative writing and philosophy major, also attended the event.
“I loved that he took his time with his content,” Casterline said. “He was educational and personal with his readings, which made the experience even better.”
Rebecca Amrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.