For National Poetry Month, local poet to read from latest collection, ‘Rosetta’

  • “Rosetta”

Staff Writer
Published: 4/9/2021 7:11:07 PM

While some poets get anxious when reading their work in front of an audience, Pioneer Valley poet Karina Borowicz thinks “it’s a disservice to poetry and to the audience” to only allow the art form to live on the page.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Borowicz will hold a virtual reading from her 2020 prize-winning collection “Rosetta,” her third published poetry collection, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. To register, email

While Borowicz admits that “poetry is created in solitude,” she and the libraries are excited to bring poetry alive through an online reading.

“It’s true that the main way of consuming published poetry is reading it in books and journals,” Borowicz said in a press release. “But I hate to think of poetry as mute text. When I write it, when I read it — I hear it, and I speak it. And how great is it to hear a poem in the poet’s own voice, in person, with all the personal tics, the accent, the pauses and the creation stories.”

Borowicz grew up in a community of immigrants that was filled with old world nostalgia. Because of this, she was drawn to the study of history and languages, and is fascinated by the ideas of time and place. For most of her adult life she has worked with immigrant and refugee populations, most often as a language teacher but also doing resettlement work.

“I loved reading poetry from a young age, and I was lucky to have a father who loved poetry and stocked it on his bookshelves,” Borowicz said. “That was what first drew me in. In high school I started getting serious about it, reading more widely beyond my parents’ shelves, reading for discovery, reading to learn what makes a poem tick.”

Some themes of the poems in “Rosetta” include introspection and curiosity, history and language, science and the natural world, and time.

“I’m obsessed with time,” Borowicz said. “The way we experience it, measure it and mark its passage; the notion of time travel and the braiding together of past, present and future in our lives; and how writers and other artists express the passage of time in their work.”

The title of her latest collection comes from a poem about the spacecraft Rosetta, which was built to land on a comet and collect data. She said she found the idea of trying to land on a moving comet compelling.

“There’s a certain amount of hubris involved, but it’s also emblematic of human curiosity and creativity,” Borowicz explained. “The poem is meant to invoke the Rosetta Stone, too, another emblem of curiosity and creativity. But it’s mostly about what it’s like to be a human being alive in a world full of both wonder and horror. And I think that pins down most of the poems in this collection pretty well.”

Just as the Rosetta Stone translated ancient hieroglyphics, her poetry collection “Rosetta” is full of translations, as well as memories and questions in her writing.

“All of us are daily engaged in working things out — it’s what makes us human,” Borowicz said. “But it is the artist’s job to give voice to this process, to acknowledge the uneasiness, the doubt, the fear, the awe, the surprise, the difficulty, the dizziness, the contradiction that is at the heart of the human experience.”

The following libraries are sponsoring Tuesday’s poetry reading: Dickinson Memorial Library (Northfield), Arms Library (Shelburne Falls), Buckland Public Library, Erving Public Library, Field Memorial Library (Conway), Leverett Library, Pelham Free Public Library, Robertson Memorial Library (Leyden), Tilton Library (South Deerfield), Warwick Free Public Library and S. White Dickinson Memorial Library (Whately).

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.


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