Visiting poet Allison Pitinii Davis read from her book Line Study of a Motel Clerk in the UC Clermont library.
With an introduction by Professor Phoebe Reeves and more than enough concessions, UCC students were welcomed sit down, grab a donut, and listen to some very Ohio-based poetry for the better part of an hour.
Davis read a selection of poems from her book, as well as some of her more recent work; most of which having to do with her family in Northeastern Ohio. “At first, I was preserving these stories almost selfishly,” she said of the personal, familial accounts that served as the basis for her poetry.
Coming from a family of Greek and Polish immigrants, preservation of culture has become an important part of Davis’ narrative. Her book is a culmination of the experiences of her family – specifically her father, the owner of a trucker’s motel near Youngstown, Ohio – and how they preserved their culture while also reconciling it with that of the Midwestern United States.
“It’s a gift when writers give us their story,” Davis said of finally being able to share her family’s story, “we’re able to meet them halfway and go on this journey with them.” She continued to say that “I think poets have an obligation, and a labor, to help people share there stories.”
While speaking on her place in her family’s narrative, Davis said “ We’re still part of their story… Everything is connected even if we can’t see the connections.”