Low turnout at the Remembrance Day poetry reading

War related poetry didn’t entice the general student population

By Jamie Floyd

What do you get when you add a Dawson poetry event and Remembrance Day?
Apparently, no one, as the less than 10-minute event held in Oliver’s last Thursday attracted three readers and seven viewers, most of which were Dawson Student Union (DSU) members.

Despite the low turnout, the event had its bright moments as the three readers read engaging poems.

“I advertised as best as I could, I told teachers about it,” said DSU event organizer and reader Matthew Mancini. “It was on the DSU’s Facebook and in the daily bulletin. The low turnout is probably due to the fact that it was poetry, as well as maybe that students are apathetic about certain circumstances.”

Mancini read The Parable of the Old Man and the Young by Wilfred Owen, which draws a parallel between Abraham’s climb of Mount Moriah and his near sacrifice of Isaac to WWI.

Plant editor Anna Frey brought the room to a halting silence with her reading of Any Woman to a Soldier by Grace Ellery Channing. Both poems were directly or indirectly speaking about the negative effects of war.

“I liked how it gave the view from home about how the soldiers are remembered as opposed to the battle view,” Frey said, regarding her poem. “Part of the suffering during every war are the civilians left at home.”

Frey considers herself to have an empathy towards soldiers, regardless of her views on their job. This sentiment was echoed by first semester, Law, Justice and Society student Lenny Leprince who read his own poem titled Falling.

Leprince wrote Falling last year and said he had no particular reason for writing it, but thought it was appropriate in regards to Remembrance Day.

“In Quebec, historically we don’t like the military and we don’t feel loyal to the Queen,” Leprince said as possible reason for the low turnout.

The readings were followed by an impromptu moment of silence and then a round of applause as the seven in attendance left the room.

“At first, you feel discouraged, but it’s important to organise these things and I keep trying,” Mancini said about the lacklustre event.

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