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Alumni Join Students For Evening of Poetry

photo courtesy of Kassidi Jones '14 

Four talented alumni writers joined “Poetry from Quarantine” on Wednesday, April 29, the third installment of a series of poetry readings hosted via the Zoom online conferencing platform by Writing Initiatives at Loomis Chaffee.

Poets Alex Kuo '57, Joyce Sidman '74, Samuel Amadon '98, and Kassidi Jones '14 read from their work and shared their passion for writing and poetry with the nearly 30 students and faculty who “zoomed in” for the evening event.  “Fantastic,” Kate Saxton, director of Writing Initiatives, said of the alumni poets’ participation and the response from those in attendance.

The previous events, which took place earlier in April, featured students reading original works and student attendees sharing other poems and authors’ work they found inspiring. The earlier poetry readings were hosted by The Loom student literary magazine and the student organizations People Rising In Support of Multiculturalism (PRISM) and the Pan-Asian Student Alliance.

photo courtesy of Joyce Sidman '74 

Alex Kuo ’57 is an American poet, fiction writer, and essayist. He was the first Writer in Residence at Washington State University, where he was a professor of English until his retirement in 2012. He has taught in numerous academic institutions in China, including Beijing and Changchun universities. A celebrated writer, Alex won an American Book Award for his book Lipstick and Other Stories in 2002.

Joyce Sidman ’74 is the author of many award-winning children’s poetry books, including the Newbery Honor-winning Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and two Caldecott Honor books. Her recent book The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science won the 2019 Robert F. Sibert Medal. In her home state of Minnesota, she teaches poetry writing to school children. Connect to Joyce’s webpage for more about her writing.

Samuel Amadon ’98 is the author of several books of poetry, including The Hartford Book, published in 2012, which won The Believer Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, and American Poetry Review, among others. Sam reviews poetry for several publications, co-edits the poetry journal Oversound, and teaches at the University of South Carolina. Connect to Sam’s webpage for more about his work.

Kassidi Jones ’14 identifies herself as “a poet cautiously representing Connecticut.” She is pursuing a doctorate in English and African American studies at Yale University. Kassidi is an alumna of the Excelano Project, University of Pennsylvania’s premier spoken word poetry group. Her work can be found in Backbone Press, Winter Tangerine, and Crab Fat Magazine, and she has attended spoken word events at Loomis Chaffee as part of the school’s celebrations honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Connect to Kassidi’s website for more information.