Professor, Pat Dyjak, will read from her new poetry book, “Symphony for the
Cutters,” on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Noel Fine Arts Center, room
who has been writing since she was eight years old, said that her poems reflect
a journey of childhood abuse at the hands of her family as well as her own act
of cutting. She states in her book that it is an act of hurting oneself and is “often
thought to indicate frustration, pain, an inappropriate coping technique or
refusal to adapt to insupportable or hostile situations.”
[cutting] made me feel good. That I was alive, present, that I exist,” Dyjak
Dyjak dislikes the idea of poetry as a form of therapy, poetry helped her deal
with the tragedies of her childhood.
gives you a way to create understanding and order,” Dyjak said. “Poetry has
for the Cutters” was published by Kattywompus Press out of Ohio. Dyjak met
Sammy Greenspan, the editor-in-chief, at a workshop and decided to submit her
manuscript, which was quickly pulled from the queue.
a great editor, a very good poet and a wonderful human being,” Dyjak said of
Greenspan. “I am honored that I'm one of her stabled poets.”
of the poems in the book were written entirely by memorization and without
composition. This was a requirement of a
workshop Dyjak participated in, which stressed oral presentation as opposed to
the traditional method of passing out copies of a piece.
trying to recite in that workshop, Dyjak initially had difficulty getting past
the first two lines, which dealt with her family struggles.
was finally able to put down this pain from an abusive childhood,” Dyjak said.
“You start realizing the stories you're living in are just that—stories. There
are many, many people out there with families not good for them.”
separated from her family in 2007.
Dyjak stressed the helpfulness of writing in her life, she also said that
teaching was immensely important.
feel really lucky I get to teach poetry. This is fantastic,” Dyjak said. “I
love teaching, all the energy in the classroom. There are so many students
here—fiction writers, poetry writers—who need nurturing, who need challenging.”
says the support for creative writers at UWSP is great. She cited the poetry stuck to the walls on
the first floor of the Collins Classroom Center as an example of the university’s
commitment to the arts.
helps people get through life. Art helps people survive. We have to make art—get
our voices out there, a little bit of our souls out there,” Dyjak said.
is always working on new material and will be using her new book as a
poetry reading is a free event and is open to the public.