In the true spirit of the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), students and faculty are always looking of ways to enrich the community. On Feb. 24, the AUBG Poetry Club officially became part of the AUBG community. The club was founded by Lubomir Terziev, an Assistant Professor teaching Literature at AUBG, and a freshman student – Ilana Gramatikova, who is the current president of the club.
The Poetry Club consists of around 15 students, interested in poetry. At their weekly meetings on Fridays at 7:30 pm, they gather to read poems. “What is more special about us is that the club is open to people outside AUBG,” Gramatikova said. She said that everyone who is interested is welcome to join. This opportunity formed a diverse community in the club, consisting of AUBG students from various countries and people outside the university.
“I thought we could create this platform for people who share this passion for poetry,” Professor Terziev said. “Why I am passionate about poetry is because I feel that poetry when it is well written, is probably the best way to express thoughts, ideas that challenge the dictatorship of the obvious.”
Professor Terziev discussed how poetry can give students a different perspective of the world and it can make them think outside the box. “Poetry can defamiliarize the familiar world,” he said. Professor Terziev talked about how people often take the world for granted, overwhelmed by their daily routine. “Poetry can give this fresh perspective of the world,” he said.
To show the students what poetry can give them, he created the club. Previously, Professor Terziev initiated the Readers Club – a club where students gathered to read and discuss various literary works. He decided to narrow it down and propose creating a club about what he is personally most interested in – poetry. He shared that he actively participates in each meeting of the club.
Professor Terziev disagreed with the popular claim that poetry is not for everyone. He agrees that reading poetry requires background knowledge. “At the same time, I think there are many examples of great poems whose appeal is so profoundly human that only takes for a reader to be a human being,” he said.
“Poetry is not necessarily about understanding, it is about enjoyment,” he added.
He shared a story of a colleague of his, an expert of James Joyce – an Irish novelist. His colleague met a person with whom she shared her interest in Joyce’s work and discussed peoples’ resistance to the author, because of the level of difficulty with which he writes. This person said he also found Joyce difficult to read, until the moment he stopped trying to understand him. Professor Terziev agreed with that and shared that according to him poetry “lies beyond rational explanation.”
Professor Terziev quoted William Wordsworth, a well-known English Romantic poet: “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” He said that this is one great definition of poetry. He explained it by saying the spontaneous emotion is often the one that makes a person impressed, but according to him, this is not the right time to start writing. “You wait for this emotion to subside and then hopefully another more mature emotion will arise, and then it is this emotion that can poetry do,” Professor Terziev said.
For now, the Poetry Club gathers to read poems, but they are planning other activities in the future as well. Gramatikova said that there is no specific organization of the meetings, instead, everyone can bring a poem and read it out loud. She shared that soon people from the club might want to share their own poems in front of the club members.
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