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Bruce Andrews’ brash presentation

Photo by Halie Johnson

This semester's first Contemporary Writers' Series featured poet Bruce Andrews, whose bold and sophisticated political humor was unleashed, bringing laughter and a poetry-slam like feel to the room.

Andrews is one of New York's well-known contemporary poets. Judging by the lack of empty chairs, the event was a huge success that filled the Mills Hall living room. However, what started out with undivided attention slowly tricked out and lost some of its vigor.

His poetry was a collage of non sequiturs train-of-thought clips, often laced with sexual innuendo and vulgarity, but largely political. The imagery of the strong language seemed to dance through student's minds as some sat with their eyes closed listening as Andrews shared selections of his poetry. Many listeners burst into spurts of laughter throughout the readings, and a few could not control it.

Not everyone received his activism with quite as much enthusiasm. Some people seemed to take offense, or weren't engaged. A few students got up and left after the first reading and one or two others left in the middle of the next, possibly due to vulgar language.

After the readings most of the crowd huddled around Andrews shaking his hand and getting autographs for their books.

Andrews is known for his involvement in the Language movement, a poetry subculture that sprung from, and rebelled against, beat poetry.

Andrews has been working on live performance texts for about 20 years and has published over 30 books of poetry and essays. Many students took the opportunity to purchase some of his works and after he spoke he took the time to do short book signing.

Many of these published works available on-line, and the event will be added to the Mills video library of the Contemporary Writers' Series.