By Alyssa Seidman
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, writing and literature professor Belinda Kremer presented her poetry in the Steinberg Art Museum during common hour. Known to the Pioneer community as director of the Writing Center, Kremer read her work to LIU Post students and faculty as a part of the Poetry Center’s fall semester seminars to bring art awareness to the school.
Kremer is a native Californian who now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. She earned her M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Michigan, and has had her poems published in literary magazines, such as “Calyx” and “Fence.” She has been published in chapbooks and poets’ books, including “Blue: Poems for New York,” and most recently “Departure.” Kremer is a winner of the Hopwood Award – a prize given to scholars from the University of Michigan – and the Meijer Fellowship. She currently is the poetry editor of “CONFRONTATION: The Literary Magazine.” During the event, Kremer shared pieces from her first book, entitled “DECOHERENCE,” published in January of this year, which explores the structure and modes of poetry, drawing allusions and form from aspects of contemporary science and media.
Kremer began her reading by stating that, “Teaching, like all aspects in life, becomes part of your writing.” “DECOHERENCE” is the quantum autobiography of “I” that tracks the unfolding, loss, and reconstitution of the self and the process of becoming. The theory suggests that while you are being one thing, you are not a multitude of other things, therefore missing out on “next to endless possibilities.” The confusing nature of this scientific concept is beautifully translated through Kremer’s poems in the book, which are driven by the theories of physics. Most of the poems read by Kremer were fueled by this idea of breaking the symmetry of the vacuum state – in layman’s terms, challenging the alienation of the 21st century soul and finding the possibilities of that soul’s reengagement.
Along with her style of poetry from the book, Kremer shared two Found poems. Found poetry is created by taking words or phrases from other sources and reframing them. The first poem was “found” through Kremer’s creation of a system of grammar that drew from the lines of “The Top 500 Poems,” by William Harmon. The second was based on items from the website, weheartit.com. Kremer hoped to express the idea of self-similarity through the work, but also created a poetry paradox, intertwining lines of sincerity (“I heart I love you this much”) with lines of comic relief (“I heart this couch”).
Students who attended the reading had positive opinions about Kremer’s unique poetic interpretations of science. “I really enjoyed how [Kremer] used science in conjunction with literature – two seemingly polar [opposite] academic areas,” said freshman Mathematics major David Mannlein.
“I thought [Kremer] was amazing, and I loved how she combined science and English together to make the science topics art,” said freshman Film major Melanie Coffey. “Also, the [“We Heart It”] poem about things people love was gorgeous, especially since you rarely think poetry is happy, but that poem was just pure happiness.”
Kremer’s scientific approach to literature introduces a whole new way to envision poetry. By incorporating aspects of theoretical physics into her series, Kremer inspires listeners to understand that “without decoherence, nothing new becomes.”
Poetry events on campus are run by director Joan Digby of the English department. This year, there have been several visiting readers including Prudence Wright Holmes, Steve Dalachinsky, Yuko Otomo, Kristiina Ehin, Silver Sepp, and Kremer. All of these readings were held in the Steinberg Art Museum. For more information, visit the LIU Post website events page.