Visiting Writer Katy Didden—Where Science and Poetry Meet

By Dallas Ernst

On April 5th 2018, award-winning poet Katy Didden will be coming to Kutztown University. She will be giving a poetry reading at 7:00 p.m. in room 100 of the DeFrancesco Building. Didden’s first book, a poetry collection titled The Glacier’s Wake, was published in 2013 and won the Lena-Miles Wever Todd poetry prize from Pleiades Press. She is currently working on a new project with Erasure Poems.

Didden writes poems, essays, and reviews and has been published in multiple journals including: Bat City Review, Ecotone, Image, Poetry, Smartish Pace, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sewanee Review. Her work has also been featured on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily.

Didden is also an accomplished professor, having obtained degrees from Washington University, the University of Maryland (MFA), and the University of Missouri where she earned her PhD in literature and creative writing. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English at Ball State University where she teaches courses in composition, creative writing, film, and literature.

In her description from Ball State University’s English faculty page, Didden explains, “I am a poet with a special interest in the relationship between text and image, the history of the elegy, and in poetry and the environment.”

KU professor Dr. Claire McQuerry calls Didden and her work “brilliant, observant, and unique.” She loves Didden’s poem “On Trying to Save My Niece from Grieving” and said that it is “deeply moving in a way that’s not at all sentimentalized.”

What many are finding to be so interesting about The Glacier’s Wake is the wide array of styles Didden uses throughout the collection. Although many of the earthy themes are fairly consistent, the variation between poems makes for an intriguing reading experience. Additionally, Didden’s ability to create poetry that follows so many different styles is a credit to her skill as a writer.

“Katy is one of my favorite human beings,” said Dr. McQuerry. “Pretty much everyone who knows Katy feels the same way. She gives really good readings too, and she’s great with Q&A. It’ll be a lot of fun to have her here.” According to Dr. McQuerry, Didden is great with students and “offers a lot of good insights and advice for students thinking of becoming writers themselves.”

The event is open to students, faculty, and staff. Students from all majors are encouraged to come.

The Glacier’s Wake includes a lot of references to geology and glaciers,” said Dr. McQuerry. “There’s an intersection of poetry and science. So science students, particularly geology students, might be interested too.”

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