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Woolson House hosts poetry reading

Renowned poet Janeé Baugher held reading sessions in Rollins English classes.

Janeé Baugher, a poet, visited Rollins College last Wednesday, September 10. During her visit, she gave a poetry reading in Woolson House in the evening and led workshops in several English classes during the day. Baugher has written two books of poetry, The Body’s Physics and Coordinates of Yes. She read poems from both books at the reading, in addition to answering questions from the audience. “I love the art form of compression. I’m really interested in saying a lot in very few words; it’s one of the reasons I was drawn to poetry,” said Baugher.

Baugher often takes inspiration from science, music, art, and other works of literature when writing her poems. She often directly bases her work on these sources. This style is called ekphrastic poetry. Many of her poems are inspired by works of art she sees in museums. She also sometimes writes “pastiches,” a sort of collage of words from another writer.

Baugher spends a substantial amount of time on each poem she writes—it usually takes her about a year to completely finish a poem. She says each word aloud and focuses on how it will sound. “I don’t use strict rhyme and meter. Every word choice is evaluated on many different levels, and one of them is musicality,” said Baugher.

For aspiring writers, Baugher recommends the methods of stream of consciousness and free writing. She encourages adopting her own habit of writing for at least fifteen minutes a day about whatever pops into her mind. “I will see an image or hear a musical note or see a word and that will be the things that sparks me to the blank page. And then I do a free-write and see if anything comes of that,” said Baugher. She usually evaluates her free writes several months later, and looks for inspiration and energy in her stream of conscious writing. She then works on developing the ideas in her free writes into poems.

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