Good Thunder Reading Series bring Layli Long Soilder to campus

Soilder hosts workshops and reading for other aspiring poets

Jenna Peterson
Staff Writer

Minnesota State University, Mankato, hosted a Good Thunder Reading event for the students and the public to attend Thursday, March 14. Poet Layli Long Soldier was the special guest for the evening and shared poems that she had written within the past four days of her stay in Mankato. 

Soldier hosted workshops for aspiring poets to come and create work in a variety of forms. One style of poems that Soldier introduced to the students is called Dada. Here, students wrote a paragraph length of whatever topic they wanted to talk about, and afterwards they took certain words and phrases to make a poem. Doing this style of poetry can be difficult and take a lot of work, but the students were able to do it.  

The first poem Soldier shared with the audience was titled “Split”. This poem was about a breakup between two lovers and is a Dada style poem. One quote that really stuck out to the audience was, “Your arms cold on mine, my mind, a title waves of beliefs.” This quote is powerful in the way of telling how much trust the one person had in the other, and now all there is left is confusion. 

Soldier wrote a poem that some might see as controversial but is a topic that needs to be addressed. In December of 2009, former President of the United States, Barack Obama signed the Native American Apology Resolution into law. This document apologized to Native Americans for the violence and neglect they have received through the centuries.

One of the powerful lines Soldier wrote in response to this was, “I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly, I must live.” Soldier wrote another poem within the same topic, and it was in response to some non-Native American’s ignorance of the problems these people face today. Some lines from this poem include, “Well at least there was an apology. That’s all I can say.

 “I sit there, painful in the mist of silence.” 

The audience was moved by Soldier’s words and were inspired from her stories that she shared Thursday evening. Everyone thought about their own stories and how they can share them through poetry, no matter how much writing experience they have. 

Header photo courtesy of the Good Thunder Reading series.

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