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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

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Marquette Wire

Writer Cele Bona will host poetry reading

Cele Bona, class of 1960, will return Wednesday for a poetry reading a book signing.
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Cele Bona, class of 1960, will return Wednesday for a poetry reading a book signing.

This Wednesday, Marquette students can connect with peers and alumni as they listen to Cele Bona, a 1960 Marquette graduate, read her book of poems “Tilt-a-Whirl on the Farm” at a poetry reading and book signing. Organized through the new Center for the Advancement of the Humanities, the poetry reading and book signing will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Eisenberg Reading Room on the fourth floor of Sensenbrenner Hall.

Bona’s poetry reading and book signing is free and open to any students, alumni, staff or faculty member, and extends to the general public. Those interested can register through Eventbrite.

Bona describes her book, which was published earlier this year, as a book about her life. She pulled from her experiences growing up, as well as her mother’s stroke, the loss of children and experiences of nature to build her poetry. As for the title poem, Bona said she was inspired by the image of a rotating ceiling fan reflected in a sterling sliver spoon. 

While Bona majored in English and has been publishing her poems for years, “Tilt-a-Whirl on the Farm” is her first book of poems. She blames in part her lack of administrative skills for stalling the creation of her first book. 

“It took a village,” Bona said, noting that she has many friends and her mentor Bruce Guernsey to thank. 

Bona began publishing poems in her 20s, with her first poems featured in the Marquette Journal. Bona said she had a great educational experience at Marquette and started going to poetry workshops as soon as she could. Recognition of Bona’s work came from her entering a variety of contests. 

Bona’s interest in poetry began when she was young and listened to her mother read poetry. She said that the rhythm and song drew her in.

“If it’s a good poem, the cadence resonates with the heartbeat,” Bona said. “Read it out loud, put it down, read it out loud and let it fall into you.”

Bona said she feels people often look too hard for meaning in poetry and should instead let the meaning come to them. She also said she is excited to come back to Marquette’s campus for Homecoming and share her work.

“We hope to engage not only the students here but … also alumni friends and bring people back to campus,” said James South, associate dean for faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences, and the organizer of the event. South also noted Bona’s deep connection to Marquette.

“She’s a part of that family that never goes away at Marquette,” South said. He also added that he expects a lot of notable alumni to attend.

“It’s cool to see Marquette support alumni and to see past Marquette students flourish,” Lizzy Ninneman, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, said. Ninneman said while she is more involved in the sciences, she would still be interested in bringing friends along to listen to Bona. 

A fan of poetry herself, Riley Gilbert, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she likes the inclusion of a poetry reading and book signing in the lineup of Homecoming events.

“It’s different, but a good different,” Gilbert said, mentioning it’s nice to see more than just athletics featured in the Homecoming festivities. Gilbert said it’s fun to see the large number of alumni who return to campus each year for Homecoming. 

“(Homecoming) is for people to reengage with Marquette and remember their experiences,” South said, adding that it is also “to remind those currently at Marquette that we’re doing something really important.”

“I am amazed to have a reading during Homecoming with Dr. South and Marquette. I am so amazed and excited,” Bona said. “(Poetry) feeds my soul … and if people pay attention, it will do the same for them.”

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