Sacred Heart’s Department of English Presents the Annual Literary Spotlight


By Cindy Sanawong

Staff Reporter

Held in the Art and Design Gallery, Sacred Heart University’s Department of English hosted their annual Literary Spotlight on Thursday, March 23.

The Literary Spotlight is an annual event that showcases writers in the earlier stages of their careers. The event included guest writers Michael Jennings, David McLoghlin and Julie Shigekuni. They all read passages from their latest works and excerpts from their upcoming releases.

“I really enjoyed the authors who attended,” said junior Hunter Hatlee. “I found the poetry to be deep and personal. This was a very honest portrayal of each person’s life and I really appreciated that.”

Jennings is an author of 10 books and is the winner of the 2016 Central New York Book Award for poetry. Published in 2016, his latest poetry book, “Crossings, a Record of
Travel,” is a series of five poems. In a shortened version of the book, he focused on
landscape because he thought it was more interesting for his readers.

The passage that Jennings read was a contemporary poem about a landscape in Texas, called “Texas and the West.” Since he moved from Texas when he was young, he used his imaginary and creative writing process to successfully portray the recollections of his childhood experiences.

McLoghlin teaches at New York University and is an author of two award-winning books of poetry.

Similar to Jennings, McLoghlin also wrote a landscape poem about his past experiences. In his book of poems that was published in 2012, “Waiting for Saint Brendan,” he talks about the landscape of Mount Brendon, located on the Dingle Peninsula of Northern Ireland.

McLoghlin was a native to Ireland, but relocated during his childhood to Brussels and New England. He wrote about emigration and a search of belonging, betrayal and abuse, the imagined private lives of the Saints, and the geometries of loss and love on the New York subway.

“The poets, Michael and David, were really powerful,” said Gerald Reid, Director of the Center for Irish Cultural Studies and sociology professor.

Shigekuni is an American novelist who’s written four novels and won an American Japanese Award for Excellence in Literature. She is also a professor at the University of New Mexico.

She read some passages from her latest book, “In Plain View,” which was published in 2016. The book is a literary thriller and focuses on a love triangle.

“The central character is Daidai Suzuki, an Asian American professor of Asian studies, who lives with his wife in Southern California,” said Shigekuni. “The love triangle begins when a student comes from Japan, then she forms a relationship with her professor.”

The English Department hopes that by having writers come in and read passages from their latest works, they can inspire up-and-coming writers.

“The topics and imagery were intriguing and fascinating,” said Hardwick. “This was a great event.”

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