Katelyn Chostner, Editor-in-Chief
The Pilot House was full of the presence of many poets who spoke multiple different languages this past Wednesday. Lingua and the Writers Group hosted the Beauty of Languages which created an atmosphere that poets could show their bilingual talents.
Lingua, a language club, wanted to come up with a way to spotlight the different languages that University of Missouri–St. Louis students and faculty could speak. They eventually decided to contact the Writers Group and collaborate together during one of their many open mic nights on campus.
“All languages have a particular beauty that is just wonderful to hear even if you don’t speak the language. We had to figure out the best way to showcase that beauty and poetry seemed like the perfect answer,” said President of Lingua Katherine Volandt, senior, international relations.
Many of the poets read from existing work and translated it to English for their audience. Some poems were translated from Spanish, German, Mandarin, Arabic and Deutsch. All of the literature showed the complexities and beauty of the languages they can speak. Volandt performed the first translated poem of the evening by reading “Quicksand” in French.
Creative writers were also welcomed on stage to perform poems they had written themselves. Caroline Frank, junior, media studies, performed multiple poems she had written including, “Forever Ill” and “Triggers.” These poems expressed the difficulties and experiences of mental illness.
Another poet, Associate Teaching Professor Maria Teresa Balogh who specializes in Latin American literature, diverse cultural special topics and creative writing, performed her own poem in Spanish and another of her own poems in Portuguese. Her first poem translated from Spanish was “Will You Feel Safer.” It went over the everyday difficulties that people who are of a different race while dealing with stereotypes and minority issues. Her second poem was written for the Portuguese language class she is attending. Her poem painted the scene of two women and a man who was in love with both.
Beauty of Languages was open for all types of creative writers. Students who write songs went onstage and performed what they had written. Among the songwriters was Allison Christman, sophomore, secondary education. She sang a Disney remix song and played a ukulele for the crowd who sang along in nostalgia.
Volandt finished the songs with the “Hail Mary.” She sang the prayer in French, a language which she is fluent in because of her studies at UMSL. Beauty of Languages helped spread the awareness of the complexity and importance of different languages. Students who are in UMSL’s language studies program at UMSL were able to collaborate together and meet new people at Wednesday’s event.
According to Volandt, “When we graduate, there’s this huge interdependent globalized world that we’re graduating into and it’s crucial to know, or at least be aware of, other cultures and languages.”
UMSL offers a wide array of language studies and Lingua is only another opportunity for students to broaden their studies.
“Being able to speak another language enables you to participate more fully in a globalized economy and a globalized job market,” said Volandt.