English student George Krippner and Slavic languages and literatures graduate student Grace Mahoney recite original poetry and poetic translation in honor of LSA’s 2024 National Poetry Month Series. 

LSA is celebrating National Poetry Month 2024 by honoring the voices of the students who are engaged in global poetic conversations.

For the second year in a row, LSA has created a series for its social media channels in which students recite their poetry. A total of eight undergraduate poetry students from the English department and graduate poetry students from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program—Noor Al-Samarrai, Shelby Brown, Safa Hijazi, Esther Horjus, George Krippner, Alex McCullough, Martha Schaller, and Nicole Tooley—recited their original poetry. Two graduate students from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures (SLL), Samantha Farmer and Grace Mahoney, presented their original English translations of poetry originally written and published in Croatian and Russian, respectively. Together, these 10 students speak powerful verses that resound here at LSA and around the world. 

In their translation of Croatian poet Evelina Rudan’s “Poem 3” from the book Smiljko i ja si mahnemo (balada na mahove), Farmer speaks across the loss of death, and the dead wave back.


    Smiljko and I wave to each other

        And our hands hang in the air  


The art of Farmer’s translation revives not only the world within this poem, but brings this world to life for audiences beyond the Croatian-speaking world. 

In his “Personal Poem,” which he wrote for English’s Capstone Program in Creative Writing, Krippner speaks of separation and reunion: 


    but you close our distance saying

    “George, there are worse things than smiling easy.”

    There        in  the  cold  air        delight 

                focused  by  breath-mist

        passing    back        and        forth.


What it means to “smile easy,” as well as the big questions of love, forgiveness, “sadness with a name,” dialogue with a higher power, death, a matrilineal homeland, fear, the “particular pain” of grief in an academic setting, and flashes of childhood memory—all of these questions, tethered to the line by indelible images—they’re here in these 10 poems.


Watch the National Poetry Month 2024 video series on LSA’s YouTube channel.


Learn about supporting the Department of English and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.


Photography by Tatum Poirier