Good Thunder Reading Series kicks off season with Ladan Osman

Osman’s poetry focuses on the challenges several ethnic groups face.

Lucas Torborg
A&E Editor

The first Good Thunder Reading Series event kicked off last Thursday Sep. 13. Poet Ladan Osman was the first featured author for this year’s season. 

According to the Good Thunder website, Osman is an acclaimed poet who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and grew up in, as she calls it, “land locked” Ohio. Osman’s poetry is very diverse and impactful.

Osman is best known as the author of “The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony” for which she earned a Sillerman First Book Award for. The poet uses other forms of art such as her own photography, as well as famous pop and R&B songs to drive the message within her poems even further.

Osman’s poetry, although touching upon many subjects, is often about racial issues and the challenges different ethnicities face, especially involving those with Somali and Muslim backgrounds.

The reading was hosted by the Centennial Student Union in room 245.  The room was packed with fans from all walks of life, all eager to hear and view Osman’s beautifully intuitive art.

The event began with the head of the series, Candice Black, who introduced Osman as well as the series’ new machine which translated every word the speaker said into text on a large screen before the audience. This made it much easier to become inversed within Osman’s poetry. 

Before even stating her name, Osman says “I don’t like talking about myself,” as the audience laughed. Due to this, the entire hour was filled with Osman’s poetry and photography, including some new poems from her upcoming book “Exiles of Eden” which is slated for a May 7, 2019 release date. 

One of the first poems read by Osman was “Intonation” inspired by historical events during the medieval times in which refugees were thought to have the plague and in result were feared and cast out. 

A large amount of Osman’s poetry is inspired by historical events that seem to be unknown to the general public. A fitting example of this is a poem that will be released in “Exiles of Eden”.

The poem is about the heart-breaking true story of a 12-year-old boy, Muhammad, held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. The poem is written through the eyes of Muhammad, and it is permeated with intensely saddening details.  

Osman’s then performed her most unique and one of her most memorable poems “Melody of Misremembered Songs following Police Shootings”. This piece was a compilation of various lyrics from various popular songs. Some of the songs she sampled were Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and 50 Cent’s “Many Men”.

Osman compiled these songs to create her own story and emphasizes the nature of police shootings. Not only was this a truly inventive piece, but it was also carried by Osman’s beautiful voice.

I am also sure the audience will never look at these songs in the same way again. The event ended with cookies as well as a meet and greet with the poet.

According to their website, at gt.mnsu.edu, “The Good Thunder Reading Series’ mission is to promote literature, inspire creativity, and foster lively conversations about why writing matters.” The series will have an event nearly every month of the school year.

Nick White, author of “How to Survive a Summer”, will be the next speaker at their next event Oct. 11. Further information will be posted around campus as well as on the “Good Thunder” website.

Feature photo courtesy of the Good Thunder Reading Series.

2 thoughts on “Good Thunder Reading Series kicks off season with Ladan Osman

  • Loren Harris

    I am shocked by the abysmal writing skills on display here. I guess I will regard it as a reflection on the sad state of our educational system. I am 57, my father taught writing at a community college, and he worked hard to teach good skills. I’m sure it seemed like a losing battle at times. My advice to the students involved with this publication? Seek out the toughest professor you can find – this might or might not be a journalism professor. The one who demands good writing from you is the one you want. This professor will not hesitate to mark up your paper. Pay attention to the comments and go see your teacher during office hours, if necessary. There are many resources for you, if you truly want to be a writer. But you are going to have to work your asses off.

    • David Bassey

      Hello Loren,

      Sorry you feel this way.

      Here at the Reporter, we have an excellent group of journalists.

      However, we do accept your feedback on corrections as this is a Student-run newspaper.

      Thank you.

      David Bassey


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