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Writers recite poetry and prose

By Ziadah Ziad
On November 2, 2015

Mathew Cheng, one of three international writers, recites a poem on Oct. 22 in Cedar Hall. Photo by Ziadah Ziad.

Throughout the academic year, Kirkwood Community College provides many opportunities for students to take advantage of. One of these is a poems and prose recital by three international writers. This year’s recital took place in Cedar Hall on Oct. 22. According to students and KCC staff, it was in an insightful and enriching experience. 

Recently, Kirkwood Community College invited a group of international writers to speak on the main campus.

Togo writer, Anas Atakora, opened the recital with a poem entitled “Hope” taken from his third poetry collection, “En Atendont Le Poeme”. 

During the recital, Atakora read four poems strongly embedded in the political background of his country.  As he stated, he was born and raised under the same presidency. 

Next on the stage was Nisah Haron, a Malaysian writer who read “The Longing of a Taufik”, a piece that earned her a Malaysia Premier Literary Prize. In this story, Haron posed new perspectives on the clash between local values and shariah, the Malay spelling of Sharia Law, in Islamic teaching. Sharia Law covers public behavior, private behavior and beliefs.

The last reading was from Hong Kong writer Matthew Cheng. He stated that poetry is an honest way to express his emotions and thoughts. Since there are so many lies, poetry’s purpose is to preserve the truth  he said. 

Cheng read five recent poems he said were inspired from a city known  for its literature—Iowa City. 

Following the readings, members of the audience were allowed to ask questions. They asked the writers about how they picked topics and how they coped with challenges. 

Jake Mayer, journalism, said the discussion was his favorite part. “I enjoy hearing about their writing approaches,” he said. 

Furthermore, Lisa Angelella, English instructor, said, “It’s great for students to see what kinds of topics are being written about in different cultures, such as the political upheaval in Togo.” 

Angelella added, “It’s also illuminating to hear what foreign writers see in our culture, like in the poems Matthew Cheng wrote about Iowa City.”

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