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Jenna Lê Graces Panthers with Poetry

By Mason Masotta; For the Clock
On October 9, 2017

(Left to Right) Poet Jenna Lê and Poet/PSU Professor Liz Ahl

“I am not a teacher, I am an awakener.” This iconic quote from Robert Frost is just one of many that show a passionate love of, and reverence for, learning, echoed by many of the students at PSU. His statue sitting across from the Ellen Reed house is symbolic of the rich history that PSU has with the arts, such as poetry.

On September 27, PSU was graced with the presence of poet and New Hampshire resident Jenna Lê. Lê is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants seeking refuge from the Vietnam War, as well as a licensed physician and educator in northern New Hampshire. She has shared her experiences and literary prowess via several published works, including “Six Rivers” (2011) and “A History of the Cetacean American Dispora” (2016).

Lê read several of her works to a live audience in the Smith Recital Hall at the Silver Center for the Arts, which ranged from hilarious to incredibly thought-provoking. It is in this ability to operate within nearly every possible tone and perspective that her art truly shines. After her reading, Lê graciously signed books.

Lê is the first author this year to showcase her work at PSU in the Eagle Pond Authors’ Series, which is partially overseen by PSU English professor Liz Ahl. Upon arriving early to PSU, Lê actually sat in on Ahl’s Poetry Workshop course, and offered both positive feedback and insight into her own creative process as a published poet.

When asked about whether she shares her work before submitting it for publication, Lê said, “You have to work with someone on the same wave length as you. You have to be honest with each other. Respect for each other’s work is key, but it’s you writing the poem. The whole network can be wrong.”

Armed with a positive outlook and a way with words, Lê shows just how powerful poetry can be.

The next showcase in the Eagle Pond Authors’ Series will be Jenny Johnson on November 7, once again in the Smith Recital Hall.



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