NU hosts spring edition of Western New York Poets

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Noah Falck, an established poet and educator in Western New York, can be found at the Just Buffalo Literary Center where he teaches. However, on a recent Wednesday night, he was at the Castellani Art Museum on Niagara University’s campus giving a reading to students and the public.

Falck was invited to participate in the spring edition of Western New York Poets by Max Stephan, a professor at Niagara University and many of the 15-person crowd were Stephan’s students. 

“I don’t know if my readings are performances,” Falck wrote in an email preceding the night. “Maybe. I think the poem is a performance. And yes, I’m nervous all the time, particularly when a microphone is involved.”

Former participants in the two-year-old series include Janet McNally last spring. Justin Karcher, Autumn Echo, Nathaniel William Stolte participated in the Fall of 2017 and Julio Valentin, Josh Smith and Megan Kemple in fall of 2018. Fall poets are traditionally newer artists while the spring participants are more established, said Stephan.

“(We wanted) someone who was more in the same realm (as McNally),” Stephan said. “Not gigantic, but is up-and-coming and has a couple books published. So, Noah checks up pretty well with his connection with Just Buffalo.”

The reading was approximately 45 minutes, after which Falck said that it was always great to read for students. 

“There are some series you go to and people are checked out, they’re doing something else,” Falck said. “It was a great audience, and it’s a great series and a necessary series to have something up this way. It’s an honor to be up here.”

Falck’s poetry included what he called “dad poems” which he said were unintentional, but that he is a father of a 3-year-old. Questions from the audience included references to his work which seem environmental in nature. 

“Yes,” Falck said in response to the question. “I do pick up trash, I do recycle. I do have a Prius. I take the bus, I bike to work … I guess I sort of am an environmentalist, I just think that we don’t take care of each other the way we should. I don’t think we take care of the planet the way we should … I wouldn’t say I’m an environmental poet, but I think it does sink into my work because I’m unconsciously thinking it all the time.”

Before the audience arrived, Falck said that he’d be reading some new poetry which he said was different but exciting. “I have to put it (my work) in a drawer and then go back to it,” Falck said, speaking of his process as a writer.

“There’s a joy in the act of writing,” he explained, then reiterated to the students the importance of enjoying words. “Writing a lot, reading a lot. I started writing probably around 20 years ago and I still feel I’m not really good at it… the more you read, the more you’re discovering new people, excited by new writers and it will make you (think) ‘I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to think, I’ve got to write,’… it’s really putting in the time.”

More information on Falck and his poetry can be found on his website noahfalck.org.

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