Northern Hosts Dr. Christine Stewart-Nuñez

   On Wednesday, April 5, Northern had the honor of welcoming Dr. Christine Stewart-Nuñez to campus. Dr. Stewart-Nuñez, a professor of English at South Dakota State University, graciously shared her work and inspirations with those who attended her reading.
   Her latest publications include Untrussed and Bluewords Greening — both are collections of poems. Dr. Stewart-Nuñez also has five other published  poetry collections: Keeping Them Alive; Postcard on Parchment; Snow, Salt, Honey; Unbound & Unbranded; and The Love of Unreal Things.

Dr. Christine Stewart-Nuñez

   Before beginning her reading, Dr. Stewart-Nuñez was kind enough to share some of the inspirations of her work with the audience. In 1984, when she was 11, her sister passed away. This sad event spurred her to write poetry, and her sister continues to inspire her.
   Another daily inspiration is her son, who was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy that makes him unable to use language. These moments in Dr. Stewart-Nuñez’s life often fuel her poetry, and her works are expressions of her experiences.
   Her works tend to center around one central motif — love. One of Dr. Stewart-Nuñez’s first statements to the audience was her view of love. She said, “Wherever there is light, there is also a shadow.”
   Love, although beautiful, often comes with loss and pain — shadows in the light.  Many of Dr. Stewart-Nuñez’s pieces seem to reflect this thought. Several of her works are also ekphrastic. Ekphrasis is a verbal description of a visual art, real or imagined. This way of writing gives a sense of life unique to her works.
   One poem written in this manner is titled “Art of the Body”. Inspired by Pauline Aitken’s artwork titled Aquaform, “Art of the Body” is a poem that shows how Dr. Stewart-Nuñez sees her son’s diagnosis in the pieces of Aitken’s artwork.
   Poetry is often difficult to understand. However, Dr. Stewart-Nuñez gave an excellent explanation of her works and Northern was lucky to have the opportunity to host her and looks forward to hearing from her in the future.

Zoe Buckstead

Photo courtesy SD Humanities website .