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Shira Dentz reads to USD

Farber Hall will host its first poetry reading and book signing of the year on Sept. 30. Visiting poet fellow Shira Dentz, Ph.D., teaches an advanced creative writing seminar this semester for the USD English department but on Friday at 4 p.m. she will be reading from various works including her book, “Sisyphusina” released in 2020.

Dentz is excited to share her poetry with the larger USD community and said she has a diverse portfolio of poetry she writes.

“I write different kinds of poetry. I will write more accessible narrative poems sometimes, and sometimes I’ll write lyric poems that I feel moved to write because I experienced something. Most of the time these days, my writing comes from a kind of chance operation,” Dentz said.

Poetry readings offer Dentz a chance to see how her audience interacts with her poetry and give her the opportunity to include visual aspects and the experiment with her work.

“I experiment with the page because I actually sometimes use visual aspects and visual elements in my work. I’m a visual artist as well,” Dentz said. “Reading one’s work is also a performance and I like to experiment with how to read. I don’t think that I go so far as to be too performative, you know, I’m not thinking of it in terms of theater. I do think that people who come to a reading don’t necessarily have to just be passive listeners.”

One thing Dentz said she feels after attending poetry readings as a listener is stimulated in some way and hopes people attending her reading will walk away feeling some kind of deeper understanding of a subject and possibly themselves as well.

“I’ve heard some very rhythmic, rich language that stays with me and also some meaningful subject matter that has been articulated in some way,” Dentz said. “Even though it can be heavy, there’s a lightness that can be experienced when articulation happens. I guess that’s also because one can feel less alone. When people read about experiences that they have had that they have not been able to articulate, they can feel less alone.”

Besides being a visiting poet fellow and teaching a seminar at USD, Dentz will be giving a craft talk later in the semester on Nov. 17.