The Archive’s Fall 2014 Poetry Salon

In fall of 2014, The Archive, a long-celebrated undergraduate publication at Duke University, presented its third Salon in Von der Heyden Pavilion on Duke’s West campus. Salon is a celebration of poetry and music designed to showcase the extraordinary literary talent of both Duke’s faculty and student population and to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of poetry on campus.

The event drew an crowd of over a hundred in spite of the fact that, across campus, the men’s basketball team was playing its first game of the season. The program included readings by professors Nathaniel Mackey, David Need and Deborah Pope, graduate students Pete Moore, Jessica Stark and Damien-Adia Marassa, and undergraduates Destiny Hemphill, Tony Lopez Jr., Hannah Moyles and Jason Fotso. They took the stage in three sets, a professor, a graduate student, and one or two undergraduates. Violist Laura Quillen and a string quartet made up of Jonah Yousif, Olivia Lin, Nathan Hsieh and Indy Rajan provided musical interludes between the poetic trios.

Salon was conceived and produced by students. This year’s organizer was sophomore Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi, who came to the project with a philosophy that the written word is meant to be shared.

“Our vision for the Salon was to create a space to celebrate poetry,​” Andrew says, ​“to both honor and appreciate the work of our poets and also to encourage more to share and engage in this poetry community, as writers and readers.​”

Andrew invited like-minded poets to read their own works: “To us, the potential and power of poetry is not achieved simply by sitting in a room, reading and writing by yourself. It’s sharing your way and eye for beauty with others, with the world. More than anything, poetry is about community.”

“What we believe is that there is a rich culture of poetry out there in the Duke population,” he says, “but rarely is poetry afforded the physical platform it deserves.”

The result was a wonderfully diverse collection of poets taking turns at the same podium, each sharing their distinct voice and vision with a warm, attentive audience. For Duke’s lovers of poetry, it was a treat.