Photo courtesy of Pepperdine
“What shocked me the most was how Professor Jeff Schultz talked about how little of a place there is for poetry today and how one has to be kind of a scam artist in order to even make a profit off poetry,” Christian Treon, a junior International Business major and Literature minor, said. “There’s this idea that poetry has to fit this kind of method or mode today to even have any influence or impact on people.”
As a part of Pepperdine culture for the past five or six years, the Symposium series provides a platform for professors to share their work, said Michael Ditmore, the Divisional Dean of Humanities and Teacher Education Division. He said whether they want to try out a presentation or show their research, the Symposium is a perfect place for them to do it.
“You have a professor who is so knowledgable and so excited to be speaking, whether it’s about poetry or the Vietnam War, that they’ll spend an hour or two of their time discussing it with fellow teachers and students,” Treon said.
The Braun Conference room in the Thornton Administration Building is the new location for this monthly series. The division had to move the series out of the Great Books room in Payson Library this year due to construction. Braun was packed for Schultz’ talk.
“I got to the Symposium a little bit late and there weren’t any chairs left so I sat outside the door and listened as well as I could,” Ditmore said.
Ditmore and Treon both said the way Schultz speaks about and presents poetry is beautiful. Schultz was recently one of five recipients of the annual National Poetry Series award, which he also won three years prior.
Treon said that in his talk, Schultz explored a haiku poem he wrote, searching for deeper meanings within as he unfolded each and every layer of his work. He then used the same technique to examine and speak about modern poetry and where it is and is not relevant today.
Caroline Laganas, a junior journalism major, said that Schultz’s point of view on the lack of poetry’s importance in the modern age – despite himself being a poet – greatly impacts her.
Treon and Laganas said they highly recommend the series to anyone who may have an interest.
“Every month it’s a different topic, so I would encourage people to see what the topic is and if it interests you or if you want to learn more about it – just go – because it’s such a great start to a Wednesday,” Laganas said.
The next Symposium series presentation will be given on October 19 by Tuan Hoang, Assistant Professor of Great Books. He will be discussing the Vietnam War and Refugees in the Braun Conference room.
“It’s a gem of Pepperdine to me,” Treon said, “It’s a good environment with a lot of intelligent people who just want to learn.”
Follow Shannon Hansen on Twitter: @shannnonhansen