Two visiting poets leave UVU students inspired

Reading Time: 2 minutes Richie Hofmann and Lisa Hiton, two nationally recognized poets, read from their collection of works at UVU.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As part of the English department’s visiting writers program at UVU, two acclaimed poets held a reading of their poetry in the Lakeview Room of the Fulton Library. The view of Utah Lake and the mountains with the setting sun in the background lended itself to this enchanting evening with two prolific writers as they read from their work.

Dr. Kara van de Graaf, a professor at UVU and prolific writer in her own right, began the event by introducing the two readers, Richie Hofmann and Lisa Hiton. Many of the attendees, who were largely English students, were already well-acquainted with these poets, as the poets had spent the day visiting many of their classes and participating in their workshops. It was a rare opportunity for students to gain insight for how to improve as writers from masters of the craft.

Hofmann, who teaches at Stanford University, was the first reader and began with a reading of several poems from his first collection of poetry, “Second Empire.” He described it as being about love, and the pain and pleasure that often accompany it. 

He also gave a look into his new book of poetry, “A Hundred Lovers.” This collection of poetry, although about love like his first book, he described as colder and crueler. One of the poems which he read from this collection, “French Novel,” was published in the New Yorker.

Following him was Hiton, who is the poetry editor of The Adroit Journal. She primarily read from her first book of poetry, “Afterfeast,” which won the Dorset Prize at Tupelo Press. Like Hofmann, her poetry heavily focuses on love and desire as well as space and landscape. She finished her reading with two pieces from her as-of-yet-unpublished second collection of poetry.

From there, the event was opened up to a Q&A session where attendees were given the chance to delve into the minds of these two masters. They asked a broad range of questions, from what poetry means to them to the intricacies of getting published. 

Hofmann ended the evening with a beautiful piece of advice for aspiring writers who are experiencing doubt about their craft. He said, “When you look back at an old work and feel a little bit of shame and embarrassment, that’s a sign you’re growing. It would be way worse, I think, if you were like, oh, why can’t I write poems like I did when I was eighteen.”

At the end of the event, attendees had the chance to meet with the writers individually and to get books signed. By the time it was over, all in attendance were left feeling inspired and uplifted. UVU was extremely fortunate to have them take the time to share their work with its students.