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Major Author Reading Series: Teacher, Mother, Poet: Chrstine Poreba’s Poetry of Home

by RIKKILYNN SHIELDS, Editor

An ESL teacher, a wife, a mother, a lover of naps, but most importantly a poet. Christine Poreba grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City and currently resides in Tallahassee with her husband, son, and dog. As the Major Author Reading Series came to an end this semester, on November 10th, Poreba’s poetry left us all speechless.

Poreba’s poetry is known for praising the world, both hopeful and mutilated. Throughout her poetry, she is also known for her risky poetic leaps in subject and tone that eventually all come together in full circle by the end, leaving the reader in complete awe. Her poems are full of laughter and sadness, highlighting the beauty and negativity we all come to witness throughout our lives.

Poreba started off the MARS reading with her poem, “What You Don’t Want To Know.” The poem examines her first camping trip, that Poreba herself described to be “terrifying.” Being born and raised in New York City, camping trips weren’t something that she was familiar to– until she met her husband who was from the Midwest. The poem highlights on the beauty of fear and unfamiliarity in life.

Further on in the reading, Poreba told the audience that her self appointed theme of the readings would be home, present and past. Her poem “Leaving New York” compares the sight of tall buildings to children growing up, as she discusses her upbringing and childhood in New York City. Her other poem, “Balcony,” highlights on moments where she stands out on the balcony of her families fourteenth floor apartment. Here, Poreba sees the past and all of the familiarity that goes along with it. The poem also highlights her nervousness of starting a new, but also her constant wonder and desire for more.

Later in the reading, Poreba discusses her experiencing creating a new home. When her and her husband moved to Tallahassee together, she began to quickly learn that starting a new home with someone else is a constant balance of being an individual, and being a team– which she soon learned wasn’t as easy as she had previously thought. Poreba told the audience to always keep your phone on when you promise you’ll answer, all because of the one time she got caught up staring at flowers, when she should’ve been picking her husband up.

Not only do her poems discuss starting a new home with her husband, they also focus heavily on motherhood and her son. Her poem “Frontier” tells the story of her son seeing the new world, and her seeing the new world of motherhood simultaneously.

After reading her work, Poreba took questions from the audience, allowing us to get to know her even better. Poreba discussed her childhood, family, and career in detail, telling us that although her mother was an English teacher, she and her sister teach English as a second language. Poreba credits her grandparents for the interest, because they learned English all by ear. She said teaching ESL also helps her learn from the students, and helps her to think about the language much differently. The way her students learn and translate things, she says, is beautiful.

As a mother, a wife, a poet, and a teacher, Poreba has also learned to manage her time wisely, and still give herself time to be alone. Poreba’s work reflects on her home, present and past, her family, and the world around her. She constantly finds herself writing in her journal, and eventually, puts lines together to create a successful poem. Poreba also told the audience, to become a better writer, not only do you need to keep a journal, but you also need to read other people’s work– she was one told that you must read one hundred poems to help yourself create one. “Reading other people helps you find yourself again.” Poreba said.

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The Quadrangle, founded in 1924, is the student-run newspaper of Manhattan College.
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