by Hope Dorman
On Monday, April 4th, the Garaventa Center and Department of English together are hosting “Godwit”, a poetry reading from Sister Eva Hooker. As a Writer in Residence and professor of English at St. Mary’s College in Indiana, she has some expertise in the subject, but her subject matter is what makes her reading so worth attending. Oftentimes, the writers we bring to campus have written long works and students have not had the time to read them before the reading – but Sr. Hooker is a poet, and some of her poetry is available online. Terrain.org has her poems “Three Woodpeckers” and “There is work to do within nothingness” published online. Let’s take a look to see why two groups worked together to bring Sr. Eva Hooker to campus.
The first poem, “Three Woodpeckers” is deceptively simple. Only 19 short lines comprise this work. The themes of nature, presented in the flora and fauna of the tree and the woodpeckers, may immediately resonate with those with a passion for nature such as many locals to the Pacific Northwest. There is a mention of a “Spirit”, leaving open to interpretation the presence of a religious or spiritual figure, which may appeal to our Catholic student body. The text itself begs lots of questions – why write about woodpeckers? Who is the voice? What do the woodpeckers represent? What is the poem saying about nature? These questions, and more, are meant for someone more experienced in poetry than myself to try to answer. Above all, this poem is a testament to the power of poetry and skill of Sr. Hooker to fit so much meaning into a short work.
The second poem, “There is work to do within nothingness” has a remarkably different form from “Three Woodpeckers”. It reads like a lyrical essay, making it more accessible for those of us inexperienced with poetry. Again, themes of nature are present in this work and frame the greater theme of space or nothingness. The imagery is stronger and evokes a clearer image of the setting – a lake, a paddle, a spider, granite stones, the juxtaposition of light and dark. Though there is more text, there are just as many questions to ask about this work as there are about “Three Woodpeckers”.
Because we are lucky enough to get a preview of the works of an upcoming writer, I hope you will take some time to read Sr. Hooker’s poetry After reading, join the Department of English and the Garaventa Center on Monday, April 4th at 7:15 PM in Franz 120 for “Godwit”!