‘Telling stories and connecting with people’
Casey Matolock | reporter
Poet Katie Wirsing provided her lifelong experiences and thoughts on love, sexuality and fondness of Jell-o wrestling to the U-club stage in the Overman Student Center on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
“I love telling stories and connecting with people,” Wirsing said. “I hope that from my experiences and poetry that I can help people.”
Wirsing is notable for being a member of the 2006 National Poetry Slam Championship team and opening act for The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Her work has been featured on radio stations such as British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and National Public Radio (NPR).
“Before a show, I like to feel out a room to determine whether or not I should go heavier or lighter on a subject,” Wirsing said. “Most of the time I just like to go along with the audience because it makes the show more relatable and comfortable.”
Ashley Cross, junior in justice studies and vice president for SAC, says she knew that they had found a perfect act for the campus when inviting Wirsing to PSU
“We saw Katie at a convention for SAC, loved her act and wanted her for the campus,” Cross said. “We wanted to try something different and thought that poetry would be a good idea.”
Wirsing started out the evening by explaining aspects of her life such as how a fan threw a jacket to her on stage, her grandmother’s love for hotdogs and the time she went skydiving.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “I recommend that everybody jump out of a plane when you can.”
After a montage of what Wirsing called “weird things” such as the time she received a photo of a naked man on an airplane and had a run-in with a Greek mafia, she recited a poem about her grandfather’s funeral called “The Things No One Tells You.”
Wirsing stated that she was not sure if her body had the space for that kind of trauma anymore.
She then proceeded to recite a poem called “Adolescent Years.”
“They are the toughest years for an individual because you are trying to find yourself, and you’re not allowed to do anything,” she said.
Another poem called “A Whole Lot of your Fault,” centered on the theme of breakups and mistakes that individuals make in life.
Jason Bunce, undeclared freshman, had mixed feelings about the show.
“She did very well about expressing her emotions, but there were parts that were depressing,” he said. “It was really funny at times, but just really dreary for most of it. I don’t like to hear about other people’s pain unless I can fix it.”
To lighten the mood, Wirsing shared a story of how she spent a summer cleaning for hoarders.
“I would find treasures under the newspapers, and as I threw out the trash I could put the treasures in my car to take to my studio apartment,” Wirsing said. “Eventually, my apartment started to look like the hoarder’s houses.”
Wirsing’s next story told the tale of how her sister Chelsea was engaged seven times, which brought Wirsing to ask the audience to think about three things that they love.
Egor Gorn, sophomore in English language and literature, says he enjoyed his first experience with American poetry.
“I liked the show because it was interesting to listen to how contemporary American poetry is,” he said. “She expressed a lot of her problems in the poems and parts of her life.”