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English professors read from published works

Associate Professor Robert Fanning and Professor Matthew Roberson, both from the Department of English Language and Literature, read from their published works on Thursday, Feb. 23 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room.

Fanning read poetry from his book "Our Sudden Museum," explaining the inspiration for each poem before reading them to the filled room.

The poem "Go Ask the Lobsters" was inspired after he took his kids to the Meijer grocery store several years ago, and his kids were asking him questions about the lobsters in the tanks, and about the rubber bands around their claws. He said the poem was about his thinking of how he would explain predator and prey to them.

Two other poems Fanning read were also about his children. When reading one poem inspired by his daughter playing in preschool, he interrupted himself and said, "Maggie, you're a star." When reading the other inspired by his son running into blinding snow at school, he turned to his son and said, "What up, man?" He earned laughter and smiles from the audience each time.

Not all the poems were so joyful. Some were inspired by Fanning's brother, who committed suicide, and his sister who had died in a hospital.

Santa Clarita, California senior Amanda Shannon said she liked that the poems were so personal.

"It was really nice to get a feel of someone else's experiences in life and what they've gone through," Shannon said.

Roberson read from his book "Segovia's Author," which is about a man like him, writing a book. When he announced the protagonist's name "Rob Matthews," he was met with laughter. "Thank you," Roberson said, acknowledging the play on his own name.

The section he read was about Matthews' first day as an interim dean and both the frustrations and quirks of meetings. Chuckles filled the room as he read through his character's exasperation.

The event was sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences as well as the Department of English Language and Literature.