Poet’s Visit Echoes Across the Circle


Courtesy of Olivia Dillon '21

Sally Bliumis-Dunn leads a fourth form poetry workshop.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn’s visit to the Circle impressed and inspired many Groton English students. On February 18, English teacher John Capen invited Ms. Bliumis-Dunn to spend a day at Groton to lead several workshops on her latest anthology, Echolocation

The workshops began with Ms. Bliumis-Dunn’s analysis of the deeper meanings of her poems; she also pointed out her best imagery. The workshops then ended with poetry-writing, where students were asked to write about “the little details.” That evening she also read a few of her favorite poems in the Webb Marshall room. 

While Mr. Capen believed Ms. Bliumis-Dunn’s poetry would offer his students a professional taste of poetry, she did much more: she inspired students. Michael Rieger ’22 said Ms. Bliumis-Dunn offered an “intriguing insight about poetry,” Birken Silitch ’22 was amazed by her “modernized and hip way of writing poetry,” and Iris Wu ’22 praised her “firm grasp on poetry.” 

Ms. Bliumis-Dunn currently teaches Creative Writing and Poetry at Manhattanville College, but she often conducts workshops and lectures at other schools. She has had poems recognized in the New York Times and Paris Review and was a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the University of Arkansas Press’ First Book Prize. Ms. Bliumis-Dunn reached out to Groton on a recommendation from Milton Academy, and Mr. Capen eagerly welcomed her. Likewise, her first impression of the Circle was the warm and friendly ambiance of the classroom, and she was especially struck by the “historic feeling” of the school. 

As she spent her last moments on the Circle, wrapping up her reading in the dimly-lit Webb Marshall room, Ms. Bliumis-Dunn revealed what motivates her most about poetry: her specific style of emphasizing small details and emotions gives her a new set of “metaphorical eyes” to open a new world to the reader. Poetry has given Ms. Bliumis-Dunn a window to expel her worries in times of hardship. At the reading, she also urged Groton students to give this art a try and discover what the magic of poetry can do for them.