Faculty Author: Peter Ramos
Peter Ramos hopes readers will be bothered by his poems—in a good way. The assistant professor of English published his first book, Please Do Not Feed the Ghost, earlier this year. And this Saturday at 9:00 p.m., he will read selections during the grand opening celebration events at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College.
Listeners won’t be bothered by the eloquence, thoughtful imagery, and musical quality of Ramos’s poems. But the subject matter might evoke once-forgotten traumatic memories.
“The past can sometimes be like a ghost,” Ramos said. “Instead of deciding to not look back, people often become overwhelmed by their past and memories. We shouldn’t ‘feed the ghost’—even though it’s tempting. I hope the language in my poems bothers people in the right way.”
The 36 poems in the book are a collection of works from the past 10 years of Ramos’s life, but they conjure events that took place before he was born and shortly after his birth, such as the assassinations of the Kennedys and the first landing on the moon. Even the titles of some of his poems—“Año Nuevo, 1992,” “The Nineteenth Century,” “Short Waves,” “Watching Late-Night Hitchcock”—inherently demonstrate that Ramos values the past.
“We get strong, vivid impressions of past events early in our lives,” Ramos said. “As a poet, I try to crystallize these powerful, haunting first impressions.”
Please Do Not Feed the Ghost could be described as a collection of poems that tackle issues of identity, family, language, and culture, but Ramos argues that it’s difficult for poets to choose topics to write about.
“Poems themselves are little machines of experience and imagination and aren’t always or necessarily theme-related,” he said. “My poems point to reality and to our lives but are also about the words themselves. I hope readers find some of the selections titillating and full of musical language.”
Published by Buffalo-based BlazeVOX [books], Please Do Not Feed the Ghost is available at the Barnes & Noble at Buffalo State Bookstore. This is Ramos’s first book and third published collection of poems.
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