Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Frances Richey

Poetry is a type of writing that requires more skill than other forms of writing. A poet has to convey a message in about 100 words, whereas a novelist can take 350 pages to say the same thing. On Veterans Day, our class was invited to the Macaulay Honors College building to hear from the poet Francine Richey.

 Francine Richey wrote a collection of poems called, The Warrior.  These poems delve into Richey’s feelings about her son Ben’s military service in the Iraq war. Richey, an anti-war liberal, had a hard time understanding why her son would want to fight in Iraq. At first I thought that Richey would go on an anti-war rampage, but she spoke more about her relationship with her son that she developed through the poems she wrote about him.

Richey writes in one of her poems, “Before he was a warrior he was a boy, before he drank blood he drank milk.” This line shows how hard it is for a mother to see her only son go to war. When I think of soldiers, I do not usually think of the anxiety that their mothers go through.

Tone and rhythm are very important skills to master when reading poetry. Richey had comfortable tone and rhythm when she read her poems. She did not read in an overdramatic way. The words sounded like they were truly from the heart and not tacky like other poems I have read. In the talkback Richey mentions that she feels that, “poetry is really music.” This is apparent in the way she reads her poetry aloud.