Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College
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Boston-based poet, alumna shares work with students

March 16, 2015

Krysten Hill, a Boston-based poet and 2008 Stephens graduate, shared some of her works on campus Friday before hosting a workshop with students on Saturday.

Hill teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts, where she also performs and writes. Originally from Kansas City, her poetry has been featured on stage at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival; Cantab Lounge; Literary Firsts and U35 Reading Series. She’s been published in Muzzle, PANK, Amethyst Arsenic, Roar and Write on the DOT. Ultimately, she wants to form a collective of female poets who travel to teach girls the power of voice.

On Friday, Hill read poetry mostly surrounding issues of gender, race and adolescent angst. One poem, part of an Encyclopedia Show that required her to write about Sloth Bears, allowed her to explore the idea of captivity both in relation to the animals and in relation to womanhood.

Hill, who earned a B.F.A. in Creative Writing, said she found her voice at Stephens, a “safe space.”

“I learned to be better to myself, better to my skin,” she told students. “There's something that really happens here, guys, so take it in.”

Later, Hill said Stephens gave her the ability to do “really hard things. I learned to stand up for myself outside of the world of academia.”

On Saturday, Hill led students through a series of exercises aimed to get them comfortable with sharing, said Assistant Professor Kate Berneking Kogut.

Students performed individual pieces and got guided feedback. Hill also led them through a series of breathing and voice exercises.

Voice, Hill said on Friday, is always evolving. While she’s been faithful to the same topics she wrote about in college, she said, “I’m always practicing and always developing.”

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