"The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention." Those profound words come from Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way. Those in attendance for a special presentation on the Lubbock Christian University campus on Tuesday night not only heard those words, respectfully attributed to Ms. Cameron, but there certainly was delight generated as paying attention was easily accomplished.
Texas' 2012-13 Poet Laureate, Jan Seale, made a stop on the LCU campus for a couple of appearances and she did not disappoint. The author of seven volumes of poetry, the latest being Nape, which she read from during her engagement that took place in the CDC Theater, Ms. Seale was engaging, funny, informative and inspiring to the crowd of poetry fans gathered.
"Having Jan Seale come to campus, guest-lecture at my fiction writing class on Monday evening, then have a poetry reading Tuesday night was nothing short of fantastic," said LCU senior Kristen Vander-Plas. "She was incredibly humble, and a great encourager to the amateur writers, such as myself. Her visit reminded me yet again how grateful I am to be at LCU - where opportunities to shine and improve ourselves are always placed before us. Thanks to everyone who helped bring Mrs. Seale to LCU - it certainly made an impact on this student!"
The impact that the poet made was not only left to the students in attendance, although that audience was definitely a mark well struck. Ms. Seale, who also has authored two books of short fiction, three volumes of nonfiction and nine children's books, not only read many of her works of poetry, but she accompanied those readings with a philosophy of life that left those admirers on hand with a feeling of ease in most every life experience she shared.
"I truly enjoyed the poetry reading! Ms. Seale was very genuine, easy to relate to, and her personality radiated in her quirky, yet meaningful poems," shared LCU student, Alyssa Middleton. "I feel as though only Ms. Seale could combine papayas and UFO's into a single work of poetry about marriage and have so much of an audience nodding in agreement!"
Indeed her delivery was eloquent and her heartfelt celebration of the ingredients of each of her poems could be seen on her face as well as heard in her voice. She read poems about Texas, college life and students, kids, family, gospel songs, faith and technology. Her appeal to a wide variety of listeners and readers brings no doubt as to why her works are published nationally in such venues as The Yale Review, Texas Monthly and Newsday.
This writer especially enjoyed her first reading, which entails her task of cooking waffles in the shape of the great state of Texas. Ms. Seale, who is a native Texan and currently lives in McAllen with her husband Carl, a retired symphony conductor and composer, previewed the poem by explaining that her grandchildren really enjoy "eating Texas." As the poem explains there was plenty of trial and error that went into perfecting the Texas waffle with "mountains over Waco" and "the Red River swamped Oklahoma," but in the end "all I have to do is take care to stop pouring the batter a little shy of El Paso, Dalhart and Texarkana." Needless to say the reading brought plenty of chuckles from those waffle aficionados in the crowd.
As Ms. Vander-Plas has indicated, this presentation was one of many that the university brings to campus in an effort to further enhance the overall educational experience for its students.
"LCU has a good reputation in the academic community. We have a significant number of faculty with some really good contacts and credentials, and we're always looking for high-quality speakers to come and share their work and knowledge with our students," said Dr. Matt Byars, Assistant Professor of English and largely responsible for securing Ms. Seale's visit to LCU. "Ms. Seale was very complimentary of the students she met with in my Monday night fiction workshop. She was struck by their friendliness, their openness, and their eagerness to engage with what she had to say. It speaks very well of LCU that our students made such an impression, and I'm sure she'll 'spread the word' about LCU in her travels across the state."
The event was sponsored in part by Bill and Dee Dee Bundy, The Hancock College of Liberal Arts and Education, the Humanities Department and the Honors Program. A reception was held following the presentation as Ms. Seale visited with attendees and autographed her books. Dr. and Mrs. Bill Byars sponsored the reception.