The College of Arts and Sciences Gallery introduced Tim Peterson, a poet and critic from Brooklyn, N.Y., to begin the University of Miami creative writing program’s poetry series on Monday.
Peterson has written a number of works, the most recent being Since I Moved In, which was published in 2007 and awarded the Gil Ott Memorial Book Award from Chax Press.
Peterson took the stage, wearing black pumps and a bright blond wig, to read a few selections from Since I Moved In as well as some new poetry. But before beginning, he first asked the crowd to shout out which poets they were currently reading so as to get a better feel for his audience. Poets Denise Duhamel and Harriet Mullen were among the names shouted out.
“All right, I’m comfortable now,” Peterson said.
Peterson read from two poems from his 2007 book, the first entitled “Transfigures.” The second work from Since I Moved In was named “Spontaneous Generation,” which he prefaced by saying it was a meditation on man’s relationship to creation and reproduction and what it means to lack a womb.
Peterson interrupted himself to tell funny anecdotes and stopped once because of ” a wig emergency.”
He then proceeded to read a number of new poems, some of which were “Wig Cap,” “The Barometer in My Neck,” “Berlin,” and closed his reading with “Sincere Apologies for Cross Dressing.” The reading was followed by a short Q&A session. One audience member asked if Peterson had always written poetry. He replied that he used to be a painter but “couldn’t afford the supplies,” and also became interested in language and the written word when he shifted to writing poetry. He also talked about his own writing style, which he described as spontaneous. He added that his work was influenced by David Shapiro, an American poet.
Audience reactions were fairly positive. There were a number of undergraduates in attendance for English classes.
Rakellie Fruits, a senior, said, “It was interesting, however I’m more visual. I get more from reading than having it read to me.”
But Peterson’s presentation seemed to be an enlightening experience for many.
“I’ve never been to a poetry reading before, so listening to a poet read his own work gave it a different sort of insight,” sophomore Nicole Griswold said.