By Sasha Debevec-McKenney
It’s a shame more people don’t go to poetry readings here, because the English Department consistently brings in great writers. Peter Filkins, a poet and translator, was no exception. There were 22 people at his reading on Wednesday night, but every seat should have been filled, because Filkins is a poet who reaches across multiple divisions and whose poetry touched on a wide variety of topics. As a translator of poetry, he had knowledge to share on the German language. As a poet and professor, he had tons of advice to give to English majors. He even read a well-informed and beautiful poem about the painter Claude Monet. However, what seemed most important to him, and most noticeable to the audience, was the historical presence in his writing. “Historical poems are personal poems,” he said. “I hope to go into history and write towards the present.” He referred mainly to a poem of his about the sinking of The Lusitania, which was one of the best he read. The reading wasn’t consistently engrossing — there were, admittedly, some poems that went over my head — but the poems that hit, hit hard.