On November 15 the Library hosted about 60 members of our community for a very special afternoon of poetry, International Voices: The Poetry of Many Tongues, featuring Ryan Samn, as part of the Library’s Poetry Corner series. Samn opened with a beautiful poem by one of his teachers from the time he lived and taught English in Polynesia, “Paying homage to the time of abundance.” Then he read a few poems from his recently published book, I’ll Be There, Too: A Collection of Poetry, reexploring his Chinese ancestry and the diaspora in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as reflecting on his visits to Cambodia before starting a family of his own.

Photo by Harry Tun

After Samn’s readings, students and faculty shared poems in many languages – poems from their ancestral homes as well as special favorites – including original poems they had written in Indonesian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Farsi, Malay, Urdu, Chinese, Italian, German and even Spanglish.

Erika Robertson, Victor Hernandez, Arin Rudkin, and Antonio Ortiz were among the student readers present. Faculty readers were Pia Walawalkar, Susanne Schubert, Luciana Castro, Emilie Hein, Vincent Kang, Salumeh Eslamieh, Rob Williams and Gerardo Pacheco Matus, who dedicated his poems (soon to be published in The New England Review) to his Cañada College students who also joined the event.

Samn concluded by encouraging student poets to save and collect all of their work and thanked fellow poet Rob Williams for his important encouragement to self-publish.

Photo by Veronica Johnson

A nearby decorative display designed by the Library’s student assistants Veronica Johnson and Harry Tun features poetry books from around the globe which students could check out.

Thank you to Pia Walawalkar, Rob Williams and Sherri Wyatt for making this hyflex event possible for our community. Did you miss it? You can find the recording on the Library events website. Would you like to submit an original poem you wrote for publication on the Library website? It’s not too late. Please send your poem(s) to librarian Jessica Silver-Sharp silversharpj@smccd.edu.

Article by Jessica Silver-Sharp.

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