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Poet enlightens audience with words of wisdom


By Elizabeth Pray
Staff Writer

“When you go to places, the things you are supposed to see are not what stay with you.”

Peter Makuck said these words while onstage at the Garret Theater Wednesday night discussing how the small details on a trip can become the unexpected details of a poem.

Makuck, a nationally recognized poet, short-story writer and critic, visited  St. Bonaventure and gave a talk to the campus community. His visit was part of the 2012 Writers Series, a program coordinated jointly by the School of Arts and Sciences and the English department, to bring in different writers to talk about their works.

During his presentation, Makuck read a variety of poems from his book, “Costly Habits.” The subjects ranged from a calico cat to driving along the highway of Bogue Banks, N.C., to the glasses case in his pocket.

Scattered throughout his time on stage, Makuck talked a little about his background and took questions from the audience.

When asked about what motivated him to first take up writing, Makuck cited “Barn Burning,” a short story by William Faulkner, as an inspiration when he was in high school.

“That story activated something inside of me I didn’t know existed,” he said. “When I got home, all I wanted to do was read and write.”

Makuck mentioned David Flood, a former professor at St. Francis College in Maine, as another source of inspiration. Flood is currently a friar at Bonaventure and was present for Makuck’s presen-tation.

Dr. Rick Simpson, a professor in the English department, asked Makuck to speak on campus regarding his experiences writing poetry. Prior to the presentation, Simpson spoke about how he first met Makuck at Kent State University in Ohio. The two men have remained close friends for decades and Simpson said he admires Makuck’s writing.

“He has a wonderful eye and a wonderful ear for the world before him,” Simpson said.

There were various student reactions to Makuck’s poetry.

Makeda Loney, a sophomore journalism and mass communication major, said she found life in Makuck’s words.

“I thought they were very real,” she said. “Each one told a story.”

Sarah Baker, a freshmen modern languages major, said she thought Makuck’s poems provided insight about who he is as a person.

“I really liked how his poetry opened a window into his life,” she said.

Makuck is the second author to present in The 2012 Writers Series. The two remaining writers are Gregory Betts and Devin Murphy, who present April 19 and 26, respectively.

In addition to the talk, Makuck was a guest speaker in two English classes earlier in the week and interacted with the students.

“I would be delighted to have those sort of students in my class,” he said.

When asked about his impression of the Bonaventure community, Makuck said he enjoyed the overall feel of the campus and would like to come back for another reading in the future.

“There’s a wonderful, artistic atmosphere here on campus,” he said. “You can feel it.”

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