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Lyrical poet A.E. Stallings delivers lecture on Europe’s refugee crisis

Lyrical+poet+A.E.+Stallings+delivers+lecture+on+Europe%E2%80%99s+refugee+crisis

On Feb. 7, Alicia Stallings delivered a lecture titled “Bearing Witness to Europe’s Refugee Crisis” to audiences in the Fourth Floor Programming Room of the College Center. As the first lecture in the Bunting Peace and Justice Speaker Series at Loyola, the event was co-sponsored by the Peace and Justice Studies, Messina, the Center for Humanities and the Humanities Symposium, and the English, Writing, and Classics department.  

Stallings studied classics at the University of Georgia and Oxford University. She is an American poet, mother, and wife of a journalist living in Greece and teaching poetry workshops. She has written four major poetry books, which provide a connection between classic and contemporary times.

Stallings’ lecture provided great insights into the European refugee crisis. Throughout the lecture, Stallings read short pieces of her poetry, explained facts on the refugee crisis, and discussed her poetry workshop.

Through her poetry and volunteer work, Stallings illustrated how incredibly scary and dangerous traveling to Greece is for the majority of Syrians. Much of her poetry relates to the overwhelming number of drownings that occur due to overcrowding on the boats or harsh weather. She also explained how, once settled in Greece, these individuals have an extremely difficult time finding jobs and often want to “go to another land,” as one man from Syria said shortly after arriving to Greece.

Stallings also discussed the “Migrant Women’s Network,” which includes poetry workshops for refugee women. The women often make lists of words related to the topic at hand to help them write.

Stallings highlighted how, for many of these women, poetry is more respected and traditional in their cultures. Stallings also shared a slideshow of pictures illustrating drownings and shootings drawn by children who had experienced these horrific events. These pictures depict sea travel as an enormous trauma. To wrap-up her lecture, Stallings played raw footage taken by her husband of refugees arriving in Greece. The footage was extremely chaotic, and there was no help from the Greek government.

Stallings’ poetry sheds light on the significance of the refugee crisis and how it affects the world. By hosting poetry workshops, Stallings providesa platform for these women to express themselves in a way they haven’t before, easing difficult times. She emphasized the importance of volunteering due to the absence of the Greek government in aiding these refugees.  

To learn more about the Bunting Peace and Justice Series and other Peace and Justice events to come, visit https://www.loyola.edu/academics/peace-and-justice/speakers-events.

Feature Image: Courtesy of Photo Editor, Alex Vigliotti ’21

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Lyrical poet A.E. Stallings delivers lecture on Europe’s refugee crisis