Chavez, Peckham share the voice of their poetry

English faculty read from their published works.

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English professors Sarah A. Chavez and Joel Peckham read from their published literary works and signed copies of their books Thursday in the Memorial Student Center.

Students lined the back walls in the crowded audience, waiting to hear the readings and get their books signed.

Books were selling like hot cakes, said Carrie Oeding, assistant professor of English.

Peckham read from his new collection “God’s Bicycle,” described as a spiritual road mix for 21st-century America that contains poems that travel from the heartland through Appalachia to New England.

Peckham said he felt incredibly humbled and honored to share his work with colleagues and students at Marshall.

“Poetry is meant to be heard,” Peckham said. “It’s a completely different experience to hear it. If read well, there is a certain intense and intimate quality to the medium. It can literally lift the work off the page.”

Peckham is an assistant professor of regional literature and creative writing.

His collection of poems includes “Nightwalking,” “The Heat of What Comes,” “Movers and Shakers” and the title-piece “God’s Bicycle.”

Chavez read from “All Day Talking,” a collection of letters and poems from a singular speaker to women with whom she had a very intense and enmeshed relationship.

Chavez said she is flattered and humbled when someone asks to have a book signed.

Dr. Chavez’s poems were great. They were unexpected and entertaining. I like how she incorporated really bizarre conversations into her poems.”

— Austin Blake

“My goal is always to communicate in such a way that someone feels something,” Chavez said. “And that something — whether it’s an image that gets caught in their brain or the memory of someone they love — helps work toward a greater awareness of self and the individual’s connectedness to community.”

Chavez is an assistant professor of English at Marshall and the author of “All Day Talking.” She has a focus in poetry and ethnic studies.

“Dr. Chavez’s poems were great,” sophomore Austin Blake said. “They were unexpected and entertaining. I like how she incorporated really bizarre conversations into her poems.”

Hannah Harman can be contacted at [email protected]