“I started creating poems at age 4 because I loved playing with the sounds of language, and I have always loved the way poems transport me and help me to see the miraculous in the world,” said Katie Manning, Ph.D., assistant professor of English.
To Manning, poetry is a means to fully engage in relationship with others. The author of three chapbooks, I Awake in My Womb, Tea with Ezra, and The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman, Manning finds poetry valuable for connecting people across time and space, and she seeks to share those connections with her students at Azusa Pacific. Poetry, she says, serves important social purposes, and anyone can be a poet with practice.
“Poetry can be funny, comforting, sad, angry, and a million other things. It can capture anything from the most grand and abstract idea, such as love, to the most simple physical experiences, like how it feels to eat a plum,” said Manning.
Through poetry, Manning approaches writing and communication with a purpose. Many of her poems respond to authors who have inspired or baffled her. Others project the voices of individuals marginalized by society. In doing so, poetry becomes missional.
“Blogs and novels might be more popular, and arguably better suited for communicating a clear message to a larger audience, but my goal with poetry is never simply to communicate a message. I want to participate in a form of communication that speaks to the senses as well as to the intellect, that affects people unconsciously, and that challenges people in a memorable and haunting way,” said Manning.
At APU, Manning and her students experience the power of poetry within the study and understanding of, affiliation with, and connection to Scripture. In the midst of a beautiful collaboration between the two, Manning finds art in the blending of biblical research and works of fiction, infused with passion and academics, all working together in her writing and teaching.
With the hope of moving people, representing Christ, and seeking justice, Manning writes poetry to speak to the world, and she teaches her students to do the same.