Inspiring mentorship and poetry shine at Historic Neighborhood’s Primavera Poetry Festival

Student poetry contest winners read along with invited guest poets.

In celebration of National Poetry Month and the profound impact of mentorship, students, faculty, retired faculty and alumni congregated in Hunt Atrium inside Founders Hall’s on April 23 for Historic Neighborhood’s inaugural Primavera Poetry Festival and Contest.

Lane Fields, Elon alumnus of 2011, reads from his body of poetry.

Hosted by Historic Faculty Director Claudine Moreau and Faculty in Residence Kevin Otos the festival kicked off with a warm welcome from Living Learning Assistant Kendall Somol. Moreau, also a lecturer in the Physics Department, unveiled her first full-length poetry book titled, “Demise of Pangaea,” a collection of science-inspired verses published by Main Street Rag Publications. She then introduced alumnus Lane Fields ’11, whose poetic journey was nurtured during his time at the university by mentors Kevin Boyle, a retired Elon English professor, and Moreau who saw the poetic supernova flaring in Lane’s center.

Fields, now a distinguished poet in his own right, graced the audience with readings from his poignant and introspective work–intensely personal, vulnerable, visceral. These were narrative works of longing and ultimately of love of oneself.

Anabelle Sumera-Decorat won First Place in the Primavera Poetry Contest.

Serving as the judge for the Primavera Poetry Contest, Fields bestowed accolades upon the winners: Anabelle Sumera-Decorat for “Fanfic” (1st place), Grady Cooke for “Cataclysmic Gimmicks” (2nd place), and Claire Lancaster for “A Broken Curtal Sonnet About Eye Cream” (3rd place). Honorable mentions were awarded to Megan Duckworth for “Body Dysmorphia,” and Carissa Pallander for “Abecedarian about a 20-year-old virgin kiss” and “with the lights off.”

Grady Cooke reads “Cataclysmic Gimmicks” in the Primavera Poetry Contest. Photo by Claudine Moreau.
Megan Duckworth reads the poem, “Body Dysmorphia” at the Primavera Poetry Festival on Tuesday. Photo by Claudine Moreau.

The penultimate reading of the night was the invited guest poet Dr. Patrick Bizzaro, who retired as a full professor from Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s doctoral program in Composition and TESOL and is at work on a new a novel, Draft Dodging in the Sixties, which takes place in Bethel, NY in 1969 during the cleanup of Max Yasgur’s farm after the Woodstock concert. (Bizzaro attended Woodstock, y’all!) Bizzaro, Moreau’s original poetry mentor, read from “Fog at the Manassas Battlefield,” accompanied by striking photography from his wife Resa Crane Bizzaro. Dr. Bizzaro’s work begs us to ask, “Who owns history?”

Dr. Patrick Bizzaro reads from his collection, “Fog at the Manassas Battlefield.” Photo by Claudine Moreau.

Through the prism of poetry, the festival illuminated the vibrant creative spirit thriving on campus–between the walls of engineering and physics to theatre to sociology to English– and underscored the transformative power of mentorship in nurturing aspiring writers across disciplines.