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Poetry Reading by Cheryl Hobson

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Last Friday November 15, the English department hosted a poetry reading by Alumni Dr. Cheryl Hopson. Dr. Hopson, a Roanoke Valley native, graduated in 1995, she got a master’s degree from Radford and her PhD from the University of Kentucky. She taught briefly at Roanoke College a few years ago, some of her former students, now seniors, were in attendance. Dr. Hopson now teaches English at Georgia Regents University.

At the beginning of the lecture Dr. Kuchar, chair of the English department, thanked some of the donors that were at the reading. She gave each of them a copy of Black Notes and a box of candy saying “what’s reading a book without bonbons.” She also recounted a story Dr. Hopson had told her about her early poetry. Dr. Hopson used to always write ‘for the drawer,’ it wasn’t until Dr. Turpin had requested to see her poetry that she shared it with anyone. Dr. Hopson remembered the first time she went to give her poetry to Dr. Turpin that she was relieved that she was not in her office so slipped it under the door and quickly walked away.

Dr. Hopson spent most of the evening reading selected poems from the book. She originally had a list of poems she wanted to read but after a few she ditched her list and decided to just read poems based on what she felt like. Some of the poems she read were “A Gift From My Mother”, “Blues”, “Just the Way You Are”, “Campus Chapel”, along with several others.

During her reading she spoke between poems about how she got inspiration for some of them. One of her selections, “Conversation Begets”, was sparked by a conversation she had had with her sister. There was one line in that poem that resonates with many writers; “poets get born and baptized by words”. A lot of her poems come from interactions with her family and colleges; sometimes inspiration comes after watching the news and even from simply working.

After she finished reading she answered questions. When asked how she keeps up with academia and poetry she responded in humor, “I write constantly and I don’t have kids.” Dr. Hopson went on to say that she simply has a love for words and she self-identifies through poetry.