Bailey McKeon ’22
Representing Trinity College in the prestigious Connecticut Poetry Circuit, Kai-Lilly Karpman ’20 is sharing her work professionally for the first time this spring as she tours Connecticut colleges. Encouraged by Associate Professor of English Ciaran Berry to submit five poems for consideration, Karpman was one of five talented artists chosen by a panel of poets in the state. Karpman and the four other college students will visit each of their schools to read their work.
Luckily enough, the first reading of the tour at Trinity College, was right at home for Karpman. Sharing her poems in a professional setting for the first time, Karpman was thrilled to have the loving support of her professors, friends, teammates, and mentors in the audience. It was especially rewarding for Karpman to share her work through this opportunity in front of Professor Berry and Artist-in-Residence Clare Rossini as Karpman values the immense influence they have had on her journey of growth as a poet. These two professors have been engaged in Karpman’s journey and eager to help her elevate her own work, leading Karpman to cherish her first professional poetry reading even more so as the faces of these mentors she atributes much of her growth to shone among the audience.
An avid reader since she was a young child, Karpman became inspired by the power of poetry after she read the work of Sylvia Plath. Plath’s fearless expression of horrific experiences so gripping and influential, leading Karpman to craft her poems with a similiar boldness and passion for intensity. An English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality double major, Karpman likes to focus her work around the body and romance, exploring interpersonal relationships and sprinkling in inspiration from poet Sharon Olds’ impressive expression of the body. Additionally, Karpman uniquely writes about the places she’s visited and memories she’s made on her three road trips across the country.
Although this was Karpman’s first professional poetry reading, the poet has certainly had experience reading in many semi-professional settings. This past summer, Karpman took part in a three-week-long program at the University of Iowa where she, along with eleven other aspiring artists, wrote poetry together and shared their pieces under the guidance of a professor from the University’s Master of Fine Arts program. While this experience allowed her to grow her confidence by connecting and sharing with other poets, Karpman’s experience in her first two professional readings in front of an audience as part of the Connecticut Poetry Circuit have enabled her to grow her confidence in her own work immensely.
Preparing to tour the remaining three colleges in the Connecticut Poetry Circuit, Karpman continues her journey with aspirations of becoming a published poet one day.