By: Abigail Frye
The University of Findlay welcomed Conor Bracken, one of the newest additions to faculty, as he shared his poetry chapbook, “Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour”. Bracken read his poems aloud to students and staff that filled the College of Business building on Sept. 20.
The chapbook contains issues that Bracken wanted to address with Henry Kissinger acting as a “punching bag” for the fault. “I was trying to give shape to: privilege, neo imperialism, toxic masculinity, abuse,” said Bracken.
Despite Kissinger not being intended to take part in the poetry initially, Bracken explained that he just fit into his work.
Not only did the former United States Secretary of State influence the works within “Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour”, but also the background from which the author comes plays an important role in the poetry.
“It influences it quite a lot, actually,” said Bracken. “For one, since we moved around quite a bit, it’s brought me into spaces where the legacy of colonialism and imperialism is still very tangible.”
Bracken continued to describe how the poems are not only held together through political views and the influences of a lifetime, but also the sound of the poetry itself.
“I love poems that have a lot of sonic texture, and so my poems tend to bristle with them, sometimes to their detriment,” said Bracken. A love of sounds, especially in the form of cooing to his dog, helped Bracken to create this poetry.
With all of the poetry being complex in its own way, Bracken explained why he finds a new favorite poem each day, depending on what mood he finds himself in.
“The answer changes by the day; I think of the book as a kind of mood ring—whatever I pick is a good indicator of how I’m feeling,” said Bracken.
With all the attendance and participation in mind, Bracken expressed his enjoyment over the event, stating “I think it went well though; the turnout was great. There was even some laughter during some of my poems!”
The event was comprised of a podium placed within the main area of the Business building and surrounded by UF students and faculty alike. Bracken also had tips not only for future poets, but future public speakers in general.
Bracken encourages students interested in poetry to read as much as they can to acquire models for their work. As for speaking in front of an audience, Bracken suggested to “amplify a version” of oneself in front of the crowd.
“If there’s no you up there, people won’t listen for long; but you don’t have to be entirely you, so you can keep some of that to yourself,” said Bracken.