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Weis Center Sessions #44: Deirdre O’Connor, “Sunflowers” (Poetry)

Welcome to our 44th installment of Weis Center Sessions!

April is National Poetry Month, so for the next few weeks we will be featuring poetry readings.

Today, we highlight Deirdre O’Connor and her poem, “Sunflowers.” Coming later this month: Bucknell students Josh Holm and Joselyn Busato, and Andy Ciotola.

Deirdre directs the Writing Center at Bucknell and also serves as the Associate Director of the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. She is the author of two books of poems, most recently The Cupped Field, from Able Muse Press.

Deirdre says, “[The poem] ‘Sunflowers’ began with the image in the first lines. On my way to and from work, I drive past a field that sometimes contains a large crop of sunflowers, and of course I notice them standing tall when they first bloom and then eventually dying, broken and bent. I didn’t know where the poem would go when I started it, but the image made me think, at the time, of Syrian refugees—the crowds of ordinary families often regarded with a total lack of empathy. I was also thinking of Trayvon Martin in his hoodie, of racist narratives and horrific conclusions. Climate change was in my head, too. I suppose those sunflowers gave me a way to think about multiple tragedies in a way I hadn’t expected to.”

Recorded at and produced by the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University.

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