Women’s History Month celebrated with ‘Love and Sex’ poetry reading


Staff Intern

The Love and Sex poetry reading kicked off Women’s History Month in the Kresge Library Monday, March 2.

Students, staff and faculty read poems from authors like E.E. Cummings, Sara Teasdale and Frances E.W. Harper.

Erin Downes, senior English and women’s studies major, is an intern at the Gender and Sexuality Center and put the poetry reading together for Women’s History Month.

“I feel like poetry is ignored a lot as an art form, and it’s a wonderful art form. And it’s a wonderful way to communicate feminism which is kind of a little bit what women’s history month is about,” Downes said.

The poems were about love, sex, lust, betrayal, motherly love and a range of other emotions.

A poem by Francis E.W. Harper, “A Double Standard,” was about a woman who cheated and was blamed for her actions while the man was not.

In addition to poems, participants read letters from poet Paul Dunbar to his wife and from his wife to him. The letters, written in February 1898, described their desires and emotions for each other.

Anne Switzer, outreach librarian, said she tried to choose not just romantic poems, but to explore the theme of love and the many different facets of it.

Downes read several poems from E.E. Cummings among other authors.

“I love E.E. Cummings. I was going through some of my poetry. His I felt best fit with our theme. Because it’s love and sex and there’s a billion poems about love and not so many about sex, so I found some about sex,” Downes said.

Switzer said the library is a comfortable atmosphere for the poetry reading.

“I think any opportunity to hear poetry read on campus is an important opportunity. To bring us together for women’s history month too,” Switzer said.

Women’s History Month: the events still to come

“What Does It Mean to be a Transgender Woman?” — Thursday, March 5, at noon-1 p.m. in Gold Room B in the Oakland Center.

“The Vagina Monologues” — Saturday, March 7, at 8 p.m. in 201 Dodge Hall, and Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. in Dodge Hall.

“Love and Relationships with the Love Doctor” — Tuesday, March 10, at noon-1 p.m. in Gold Room C in the OC.

“Self-Love Spa Day” — Thursday, March 19, at 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Oakland Room in the OC.

“Consensual Sex or Rape? A Mock Trial” — Monday, March 23, at 7-10 p.m. in the Gold Rooms in the OC.

“Bell Hooks — Keynote Speaker for Women’s History Month” — Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gold Rooms in the OC.