Journey to the Heart of the Poetry Reading Group

Nora Landis-Shack, Joseph Ramirez, Cole Fiedler-Kawaguchi—these dark souls form the inner circle of that unholy assemblage known only as… the Poetry Reading Group. Bankrolled by the Hurford Center for apparently over a decade (!!?? can we fact-check this? see below-Ed.), the “PRG” meets weekly from 9pm – 1opm in Woodside Cottage, proclaiming to “discuss poetry the way we all found it first: outside of the classroom.”

But what motivates this clandestine cohort? HCAH Associate Director James Weissinger asks the questions; the inner circle provides the answers…

How long as the Poetry Reading Group been going?

How do you know when a meeting has started?
Meetings start slightly after 9 when we reach critical mass, and open the cheese.  We usually begin by going around and doing introductions: name, year, major, and mystery question.

How do you know when a meeting is over?
PRG never ends, we only devolve.  Devolution begins after 10 with an announcement.  The discussion generally gets exponentially sillier at that point.

Do any faculty or staff show up for meetings?
Yes, Professor Devaney joins us once or twice a semester and Professor McInerney usually makes an appearance for our bi-annual translation nights.

Favorite snack consumed?

Most popular poet read?
T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Walt Whitman

Poet most often derided?
We’re not snobs!

How many folks usually attend?

Is Woodside really haunted?
We try our best to exorcise the ghosts of the old dead white men in the canon (despite having a soft spot for some of them).

Ratio of student-written poetry to not?
We usually get one or two student poems a week, but we’d love to hear more. 

Poetry read from iPads–yea or nay?
Cole: nay! I want the words I read to be physically digestible
Nora: yea why not?
Joe: NAY!… I feel challenged by devices without buttons. 

PRG Spirit Animal?
Cole: Jellyfish
Nora: Black-Footed Ferret
Joe: Black-Footed Jellyfish

If you didn’t have PRG, you _________ .
Cole: would go into withdrawal
Nora: cry. also go into withdrawal.
Joe: Cry, withdrawal and shrivel quite entirely. 

One thing only PRG members know is _________.
Cole: which way Walt’s beard points
Nora: most of the words to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Joe: Ha!… Good try, Weissinger.

Poetry Reading Group meets *tonight* and most Thursdays from 9pm – 10pm in Woodside Cottage. Stop by or email,, or jramirez for more information.

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