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Provocative poet visits VSU, ‘misses the penis’

Written by Darla Dunning, Staff Writer

Kim Addonizio read a collection of her poems and stories to a full theater of students, teachers and the local community on Feb. 2.

Her provocative poems and short stories that were read didn’t hold anything back, detailing her sex life and humorous adventures that led her to be a writer.

Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections and two books on how to write poetry. She recently released a memoir called, “Bukowski in a Sundress” and a collection called, “Mortal Trash: Poems.”

“She can make me ache with desire at the end of a poem; she can make me fall in love again, and she can do all of these things in her poems that delight me over and over again,” Dr. Marty Williams, professor of English, said as he introduced Addonizio.

Addonizio’s humorous poems struck the audience with laughter when she chose three male students to go on stage with her, as she read her poem “Penis Blues.” The male students had to moan while she read this provocative poem about her sex life.

“I miss the penis,” Addonizio said, reciting the poem. “I feel like a word with no vowels; no one wants to pronounce me.”

She also read an excerpt from “Bukowski in a Sun Dress” called, “How to be a Dirty, Dirty Whore.” This provocative essay, as well as the other essays in the book, explored her life as a writer, her life growing up and her relationships with men.

“This book is all about my writing,” Addonizio said. “It’s the way I experience life through being a writer and writing music. This book is about sex, love, being a mother and being a daughter. It also includes weird sexual encounters.”

In addition to writing, Addonizio connects to music by playing the harmonica. She has two word/music CDs called, “Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing,” and “My Black Angel.”

“When I started writing poetry, I gave up on music, but after I started playing the blues on the harmonica, music started coming back to me in a really different way,” Addonizio said.

One audience member shared his thoughts on Addonizio’s book reading.

“Addonizio’s work is gripping and shocking, yet it drew my attention throughout her book readings,” Brian Ward, professor of English, said.

At the end of her book reading, Addonizio answered questions from the audience that ranged from explaining her writing techniques, her writing process and what inspires her to write.

“Sitting down and trying is my writing process,” Addonizio said. “A lot of times I’ll read first and get something going. I will write a lot of crap and sometimes some good writing happens out of that garbage.”

Addonizio ended her question and answer session by telling her audience they all should write about something that compels them.

“Imagination for space is more important than anything,” Addonizio said. “Everyone should write poetry. It might surprise you.”

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