Poetry expresses love, culture during International Carnivale

By Brendan Gupta

Students from across the globe expressed their feelings of love through a variety of poems on Monday afternoon in Ell Hall.

“[Poetry] brings memories and bonds us together universally,” said Elizabeth Diaz, an advisor at the International Student and Scholar Institute (ISSI).

The event, “Verses of the Heart: International Poetry Reading,” was hosted by the ISSI as part of its two-month International Carnivale and drew about 20 students.

Scott Quint, director of ISSI, said Carnevale gives the typical Northeastern student a chance to explore the world and uncommon opportunities.

“To be able to link you up with somebody that’s from another country or culture and have something meaningful happen is part of our mission,” he said.

The poems were recited in their respective original dialects. They were then followed by either an English translation, a supplemented English text corresponding to the original poem or a brief background explaining why the poem was chosen and whether or not it was personal to the reader, the author or both.

More than 10 representatives read in Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Swahili, Italian, Russian and German languages.

The event purposely remained small in order to draw those who have a distinct curiosity in the expressed themes, Quint said. The small gatherings allow for a more personal representation of culture-sharing, Quint said.

Robert Birichi, international student advisor, read a poem in Swahili. He said Swahili has no translation for the English word “love” and that Africans express love with actions.

“You have to show love. You cannot say what love is,” Birichi said.

Readers recited poems any way they felt comfortable and were given the chance to express their feelings regarding the pieces being read.

Chocolate delicacies from the different countries were provided to capture the essence of Valentine’s Day. Dark chocolates from Tanzania, Denmark, Australia, Sao Tome and Principe complemented the readings.

Although poets were timid to try one at first, by the end of the second reading, the center table was left with only wrinkled remnants of paper, plastic and gold foil packaging.

Carnivale is an ISSI sponsored compilation of events promoting cultural understanding from Feb. 1 until March 31. This marked the 10th anniversary of Northeastern’s Carnivale which began in 1995 with only two events. This year, the number has risen to over 40 ranging from ice sculpting competitions, lectures, art exhibitions, student fashion shows and talent performances.

Leave a Reply