Visiting writer helps craft a new perspective


Courtesy of Collin Holder

Poet Savannah Sipple reads her favorite poems for the audience.

Alexia Ramirez Garcia, Reporter

App State hosted author Savannah Sipple Thursday during the Visiting Writers Series to read excerpts from her poetry book “WWJD and Other Poems,” detailing her experience growing up queer in Appalachia. 

The event, which took place in Plemmons Student Union, filled the room with audience members intently listening. The craft talk started at 3 p.m.

The event kicked off with Sipple talking about finding her voice as a queer Appalachian woman. She spoke of her experience coming out while writing this book. In it she explored themes of being closeted and coming out, and how her religion and weight played into that. For an hour and a half she gave words of wisdom to anyone that asked her a question.

“Her specificity really creates not only a sense of self, but a sense of place and belonging,” said Audrey Nidiffer, a senior English major.

After the end of the craft talk there was an hour and a half break before the reading started at 6 p.m.

For another hour Sipple read some of her poems and gave some explanation for their meeting. Afterwards she took time to answer more questions before signing copies of her book.

When asked about the inclusion of her faith Sipple said, “What I really wanted to explore was who I thought Jesus was and what Jesus represented.” 

This was shown in poems such as “And the Word was God,” while also keeping to her queer roots in poems like “Somewhere There’s Her Tongue.”

“She is at the forefront of all these new voices that we haven’t heard, and we should have been hearing,” said Mark Powell, an English professor at App State.

When speaking of writers that inspired her, she mentioned Hemmingway and quoted “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.”

In this event Sipple challenged everyone to ask themselves “What truth do you want to be heard in your writing?”