Poetic Homecoming: Alum Jim Minick does poetry reading at McDaniel

The atmosphere in the Richwine room was ideal for Jim Minick’s poetry reading. The sunlight streaming through the curtains and onto the friendly faces in the room created an environment that was comfortable and warm, contrasting to the chill of the autumn air outside of the library.

Jim Minick, poet and blueberry farmer, returned to McDaniel College on Oct. 4, 2011 to celebrate and share his works since he was enrolled in Dr. Kathy Mangan’s poetry class over 20 years ago.

After Mangan introduced her former student with pride, Minick quoted from “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman:

I am the teacher of athletes,

He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the width

of my own,

He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.

It was apparent how appreciative he was of Mangan for pushing him in her class and helping him begin his successful career.

Minick began with an excerpt from his first published book, “Finding a Clear Path.” Published in 2005, Minick says the book poses the question “how do you find a clear path in this world?” The book consists of nature essays that debate this topic.

He then moved on to his book “Her Secret Song,” published in 2008. While reading his selected poems, Minick had to take his time and gather his emotions. He told the audience that this book was inspired by his aunt’s battle with disease.

“One of the reasons I write is to keep people alive” said Minick.

The audience’s emotion could be felt as Minick described the events that lead to his aunt’s death.

Moving on from this emotional part of the evening, he discussed his many other works and continued on with his newest book Blueberry Years.

The book is a compilation of anecdotes from life on his blueberry farm located in the Appalachian Mountains. Minick proudly described the place that he and his wife call home: the first certified organic blueberry farm where people can come to spend the day and pick their own berries.

Many of these stories are centered on the people who come to visit the farm and those who are employed there.

Minick said “the love of the play with words has shaped my prose writing,” making “Blueberry Years” an interesting novel that differs greatly from his poetry.

While Minick is “following this blueberry dream,” he is also working on another novel based on family stories.

His visit to McDaniel was meaningful to the current students in the audience who were looking for inspiration to work hard in classes and pursue their dreams.