Friday, October 25, 2013

Once-local poet returns to share work and technique

By Paul Schmitt
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Returning to the town of her undergraduate years, Winona State University graduate Sarah Certa, performed a poetry reading for the public and hosted a private workshop for students at Saint Mary’s University on Oct. 1.

The reading, sponsored by the SMU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International Honor Society, took place in the President’s Room, and featured excerpts from Certa’s recently published chapbook “Red Paper Heart.” The collection contains eight separately written poems, which Certa said she chose because she “wanted the collection to be about love (it only seemed natural, since I write about love a lot), but I wanted different angles of love. I wanted desire and falling out of love. Crushes, but also universal love. Self-love.”

Earlier, Certa led a creative writing workshop with a group of SMU students to develop their poetry and
short fiction work. Junior literature major Ashling Meehan said, “It was really helpful having someone our age who has actually gone out and done something with her work come and talk to us. She was very inspirational to those of us who desperately want to make it in the literary world.”

What draws Certa to poetry is her love of images. “There’s a freedom in poetry, in language and in form, that allows me to transcribe the rolls of film always moving through me,” she said. Still, she recognizes the eccentricities of the genre, and said “Poetry is very strange. It has the ability to hold me like nothing else ever could.”

The intimacy Certa brings to her work resonated well with the crowd at her reading, keeping the audience
entertained and engaged with explanations of some of the poems. “I was overwhelmed by their curiosity
and warmth and passion and only wish we all had more time together,” said Certa of the attendees, and encourages anyone interested in her work to visit her website at

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