April 13, 2024

“A poem can strike anywhere” was the theme of the fifth annual Matchbook Poetry Reading.
The event, which took place Thursday, April 16, in Ness Auditorium, allowed participants in the Matchbook Poem Project to share the pieces that they have written. The project gives writers a single line from a famous poem and prompts them to respond with their own poem inspired by the line.
Every year, at least 40 members of the Wittenberg community pick up a poem line, according to Jody Rambo, the event organizer and adjunct assistant professor of English. This was Rambo’s final stint hosting the event as a professor, as she will be retiring at the end of this semester.
“This may not be the last Matchbook event Jody organizes,” said Cynthia Richards, professor and department chair of English, at the end of the event. “I may be able to coax her back.”
Several of Rambo’s former students came to the event and read poems they had written in response to lines from Rambo’s own poetry. One currently living in California was unable to be at the event and had Richards read her poem.
This wasn’t the only long-distance submission. Curtis Makela, a sophomore currently studying abroad in Germany, asked Rambo for a prompt, and he sent back a video of him reading the poem. This was the first poem of the event.
The presenters weren’t limited to students and teachers. Two representatives from a class at Hayward Middle School read a poem that their whole class had written.
Hannah and Zach Mattison — the children of Mike Mattison, associate professor of English — both read poems as well.
After presenting, each participant was able to get a button commemorating the event from a large wine glass sitting on the table next to the podium.
“Poems go quickly,” Rambo said at the beginning of the event, and she was right; 26 poems were shared in a little over an hour.
All received encouraging snaps from the crowd.

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