Kevin Boyle entertains Elon audience with original poetry

Sarah Beth Costello
February 11, 2009

The themes of the evening were comedy and parody as English Professor, Kevin Boyle, shared original and creative poems at an open poetry reading Tuesday evening.

Dozens gathered in the Isabella Cannon Room on Elon University’s campus to hear Boyle’s dramatic reading of “The Mushrooms of Alamance County,” “Five” (an ode to a favorite number) and “Chicken s–t for the soul.”

Boyle’s creative inspiration spawns from different events, circumstances and influences.

“When Malena Morling was here (our visiting poet for the fall),” said Boyle, “She had some poems that had to do with numbers or colors…I found it annoying that she could write a poem about a number…And so I decided I’d write one.”

Boyle’s poems are a combination of humor, science, religion, bodily functions and references to daily living.

Another Kevin Boyle original, “The Mushrooms of Alamance County,” is based on the well-known novel, “The Bridges of Madison County.”

This poem is a humorous piece about the annoyance of prevalent mushrooms, but also discusses racial prejudice and economic differences. The poem parodies the Biblical Gospel of Luke 12:27 at one point:

“Consider how [the mushrooms] neither spin nor reap, nor sow, and yet they just rip up through the ground like little Hiroshimas – American as apple pie…”

Boyle has published several poems and achieved the Mary Belle Campbell Poetry Book Publication Award. Boyle is a Philadelphia native who now lives in North Carolina and teaches at Elon University in Elon, N.C.

Boyle reads “The Mushrooms of Alamance County”

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1 comment
  1. andersj said:

    I like studying the evolution of your site as you experiment to see what is most effective. Your latest layout is the most effective one I have seen yet. The art at the top better reflects the point of this work. I’m going to be nitpicky and say it would be even better if you Photoshopped the image to take off the “made in Japan” stuff, which kind of intrudes on the journalism message and seems sort of like blatant marketing.

    I love it that you went to Boyle’s reading. Great! You will learn that it is extremely important to get to events early and take a chair directly in the front of the room, as close as you can get, so you can get a tighter shot. In this case, if you had been sitting in that chair I see sitting empty in the front row you would have had a better view and also better audio. You also are not allowed to laugh or react, because the camera mic will pick it up! Ha-ha!

    You took a position in your headline – you say the poetry is “witty.” That is a value judgment that you should never make in the reporter’s voice unless you are writing a review, an editorial opinion or a personal column. The word “original” states a fact, but “witty” is subjective.

    I like your writing. You recorded good specific details and storytelling direct quotations.

    AP Style is to ALWAYS keep periods or commas INside an adjacent closing quotation mark – you have several places in all of the work you have done so far where that should be fixed. Also, in AP Style you do not abbreviate the name of a state unless it is used with the name of a town in front of it. So when you write about North Carolina the state you write it out in full and only abbreviate when it is used with a town, as in Elon, N.C.

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