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Faculty member to highlight attributes of persona poetry during 'Thursdays at the U' lecture

| Linda Tollefsrud and Diane Walkoff

Photo caption: Christy Potvin, a lecturer in English at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County, will present “Poetry: Assuming a Persona” during the Nov. 18 "Thursdays at the U" event in Rice Lake.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, Christy Potvin will present “Poetry: Assuming a Persona” during the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire – Barron County's “Thursdays at the U” lecture. The presentation will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall (Room 234, Ritzinger Hall) on the Rice Lake campus.

Christy Potvin

Christy Potvin

A lecturer in English at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County, Potvin will describe how persona poetry enables a writer to explore the implications of significant historical or traumatic experiences, literally and/or figuratively, by eliciting emotions and providing new perspectives for readers.

She will discuss how the persona poems of Robert Browning, John Berryman, Patricia Smith and Henrietta Goodman were artfully crafted to represent certain ideologies and thereby allow the audience to gain new perspective and understanding.

"Over the past 25 years, I had tried (quite ineffectively) to write poems about my own life experiences, but each poem sounded didactic, abstract, incomplete and virtually void of emotion, until my MFA mentors encouraged me to assume a persona," Potvin says. "Through the characters of Medusa, Sleeping Beauty and Goldilocks, among others, I have effectively assumed a second self — retelling iconic stories in new and original ways in order to understand the many dimensions of motherhood, devotion, love, duty and identity that I experience on a daily basis."

Potvin holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University, a master’s in English from UW-Eau Claire and a master of fine arts in creative writing-poetry from Spalding University.

Please note: At all UW-Eau Claire campuses, everyone, including presenters, are required to wear a mask indoors.

The “Thursdays at the U” weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation.

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, professor emeritus of psychology, UW Colleges, at