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Dr. Moscaliuc Co-hosts Virtual Poetry Reading

Mihaela Moscaliuc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English, co-hosted an online poetry reading of the anthology Border Lines: Poems of Migration on Sunday, Nov. 15. The event was also co-hosted by Kathy Engel, MFA, Chair and Associate Arts Professor in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Michele McBride, secretary of the MFA Department at Monmouth, helped organize the event.

The poems in the collection detail contemporary immigration experiences such as the assimilation into American culture, conflicting identities, and the shifting of language. Published in September, the anthology was edited by Moscaliuc and Michael Waters, a recently retired professor of English at Monmouth.

“I knew right away that I wanted to mark and celebrate its publication somehow,” said Moscaliuc.

She continued, “We were hoping to do it before the elections and offer audiences yet another way—besides news on social media—to engage with current debates on immigration.  I knew these poems would shed a unique light on the fact that immigrants and their experiences are essential to the workings of our democracy and to what we might call our national identity.  Then we figured we would all need some poetry to cope with post-election exhaustion, so we set the date for mid-November.”

The event gathered over 80 attendees and consisted of readings from poets featured in the collection such as Kaveh Akbar, Lory Bedikian, Andrei Codrescu, Kimiko Hahn, Esther Lin, Shara McCallum, Yesenia Montilla, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Alicia Ostriker, Ira Sadoff, Adrienne Su, Mai Der Vang, and Sholeh Wolpé. The poets are either immigrants themselves, or the children of immigrants.

“I feel really grateful to be a part of this book and to be here with you and to be welcoming you,” Engel said to begin the event. “It’s amazing to introduce people you’ve never met but who you feel that you have had a deep connection with through their work.”

Moscaliuc said, “The anthology comprises 122 poets, so we reached out to just over a dozen for this first reading. We hope to organize others in the spring and involve as many of the voices in the anthology as possible.”

English student Latisha Liang, who is currently enrolled in Moscaliuc’s Contemporary Poetry course, was one of the attendees of the reading. She said, “I thought this poetry reading event was absolutely amazing and definitely heartfelt. It highlighted a very important point that I believe many people don’t talk enough about, which is immigration. I myself was an immigrant from the Bahamas, so I related to a lot of the poems that were read.”

She continued, “One of the poems read in the event was a poem we actually covered in class, so that was really cool to hear. I also really appreciated everyone that shared and spoke; it was a very warm and welcoming group of people.”

A second reading of Border Lines is being planned for late January/early February.

“I hope MU students and faculty will consider joining us for future readings,” said Moscaliuc. “Readings like this bring people together and create or renew a sense of community we desperately need right now…I truly believe poetry can make things happen.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University