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Professor writes 30 poems in 30 days

Adjunct English Professor Christine Starr Davis ran the equivalent of a “poetry marathon” for Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project.

“It’s crazy,” Starr Davis said. “Nobody sane would do this.”

The 30/30 Project is a fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a non-profit literary press, where nine volunteers are asked to write 30 poems for 30 days each month.

Starr Davis was one of the poets during May.

“I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to have enough material to make it through the month of May,” she said. “Poems take a long time to write so to produce a poem in a day is kind of a contradiction.”

To her surprise, the first day of the month she woke up and effortlessly wrote a poem.

“I just thought ‘Ah I did it,” Starr Davis said. “Then I realized, that was one day. There are 29 more of those.”

Some of the other 29 days were like the first. Starr Davis woke up and had a strong sense of what she wanted to write, but others it would take her the entire day to write the poem.

Starr Davis decided to become involved in the project after seeing a colleague she studied with at Vermont College of Fine Arts participate.

“I got completely hooked just reading (the poems),” she said. “I hadn’t thought about doing it--I was just trying to support my friend. As time went on, I wondered what it would be like to do that.”

She finally decided to apply to participate in the project and was accepted within a day.

Being a part of the project has been a beneficial experience for her.

“My awareness of what was going on around me--of those tiny moments--was very, very heightened during that month,” she said. “When you notice things you can write more vividly about them, more poignantly about them.”

Not only has the 30/30 project benefited Starr Davis, who teaches English 101, but it gave her ideas to incorporate into her classes at Doane.

She began the project during the last part of the spring semester, so her students became interested. They would start each day by reading a poem she had written, and students got the opportunity to write their own poetry.

“They really enjoyed it more than I expected,” she said. “Very definitely one thing that I feel quite strongly about is that I’ll include more poetry in my 101 courses.”

Starr Davis said it was an important part of her classes and that it helped her students shake their old-fashioned ideas about poetry in terms of structure and content.

“It was quite liberating and exciting for the students to see that their own ideas and experiences were appropriate for poetry.”

To learn more about Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project and read Starr Davis’ poems visit http://tupelopress.wordpress.com/3030-project/3030-project-may-2013/