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Poet gives magnetic performance

Nicky Schildkraut, poet and La Verne writing instructor, reads her work in the Harris Gallery on Monday. The modern languages department and the creative writing program sponsored the event. Schildkraut read poems from her newly published book, “Magnetic Refrain,” about her childhood, and she read some of her newly written material about current events. / photo by Kelley Maggiulli

Nicky Schildkraut, poet and La Verne writing instructor, reads her work in the Harris Gallery on Monday. The modern languages department and the creative writing program sponsored the event. Schildkraut read poems from her newly published book, “Magnetic Refrain,” about her childhood, and she read some of her newly written material about current events. / photo by Kelley Maggiulli

Sydney Daly- Weber
Staff Writer

The moment you walk into the Harris Gallery, you are overcome with a feeling of tranquility and serenity, setting the perfect mood for a poetry reading.

In this setting, Nicky Schildkraut, poet and writing professor, read 10 pieces from her first book, “Magnetic Refrain” Monday.

Schildkraut started the evening by opening with a poem she had written about her childhood. The way she lost herself in her story showed how truly connected to her work she is.

Afterward, she moved on to read some of her interpretations of fairy tales she has read throughout her life, many of which she has taken in a darker direction.

“Fairy tales tell us a lot about our culture,” Schildkraut said. “We remember them in a happy way, and I like to go back and pull out some of the darker themes.”

The way she writes may be a little unnerving for some people. Some readers have said they feel uncomfortable after reading her poem, “Discomfort Girl.”

“Discomfort Girl” is about a woman who has been exploited and abused, things most people do not like to talk about. Schildkraut has no problem with it though. She embraces her writing and speaks what is on her mind.

“She really got in tune with the emotional side of the audience,” said Alexceoanna Campo, freshman biology major.

The audience was captured by her words the whole time she spoke. Everyone was intrigued and seemed to be deep in contemplation due to the meaning behind her writing.

“She took her time when she read her poems,” said Darian Harris, freshman political science major. “It made it really peaceful and relaxing.”

The way she used imagery throughout her stories created vivid and detailed pictures in the audience’s minds.

Schildkraut tried something different when she read one of her newer poems, “The Last Joker,” which she said she normally does not perform. A few of her students attended the reading, so she wanted to share a new piece with them and the rest of the audience.

“Magnetic Refrain” is the first book Schildkraut has published. It is a collection of her poems and prose referencing to her culture and childhood. Scattered throughout the book are abstract illustrations such as, a unique bird and random ink print explosions, which Schildkraut feels pertains to her poems by creating an interesting image in the readers’ mind.

The only set back of the poetry reading was the size of the Harris Gallery. The gallery is a beautiful room with many unique works of art in it, but it is quite small and Schildkraut’s words were echoing. It was often difficult to hear what she was saying, which was disappointing because her writing is so compelling.

Sydney Daly-Weber can be reached at sydney.daly-weber@laverne.edu.

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