Last night, as part of National Poetry Month, poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi performed a reading of her work after being invited by associate editor of the Bowdoin Magazine and From the Fishouse co-founder Matthew O'Donnell.

"Gaby is an excellent reader of her own work—which isn't always the case with good poets," said O'Donnell. "She's a bundle of energy, she lives for poetry, she's a tireless proponent of it, and along with her remarkable work, the importance of poetry radiates from her, and her excitement about poetry and being a poet is infectious."

Calvocoressi's work has been widely recognized. She received a Stegner Fellowship in poetry at Stanford University and a Rona Jaffe Woman Writers' Award. In addition, both her individual poems and two of her collections, "The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart" and "Apocalyptic Swing," have received awards.

While this was Calvocoressi's first visit to Bowdoin, she has worked extensively with Fishouse.

"From the Fishouse is one of the most inspiring and important ways to find the work of the poets of my generation, and I'm so honored to be part of it," said Calvocoressi.

Fishouse's mission "to celebrate poetry's oral tradition and to highlight the relationship of poetry in the air and the poem on the page," is embodied in Calvocoressi's work, said O'Donnell.

Calvocoressi constantly questions and challenges herself through her writing, exploring topics that often go unmentioned or are treated as invisible, including matters of love, faith and mental illness. The latter especially is important to Calvocoressi's work as she has been exposed to the difficulties and complexities that come with a life afflicted by illness.

"[Mental illness] is a topic I'm always sort of working through because my mother was very ill," said Calvocoressi. "I'm not sure I've completely figured out how to talk about it."

First year Molly Fargeorge said, "I think it's great for Bowdoin to bring successful poets like Gabrielle Calvocoressi to campus. It gives aspiring writers at Bowdoin a role model to look up to and it may even inspire them."

O'Donnell hoped students would have a new experience with and appreciation for poetry by giving them a different perspective on Calvocoressi poems, revealing things that they may not have noticed before.

"Perhaps, a student who hears Gaby's poems aloud and then revisits them in print will discover keys that will help them in their own writing," said O'Donnell. "Maybe they'll just enjoy hearing Gaby read the poems, and that would be just fine, too."

Thursday's reading included poems from Calvocoressi's second collection, "Apocalyptic Swing," which she described as entailing "boxing and jazz and girls getting kissed in pools above Los Angeles."

Calvocoressi also debuted some of her new, unpublished poems—an intimidating feat, she claimed, as they "are still works in progress," but she felt Bowdoin was "a perfect place to take the risk of reading them."

In addition to writing, Calvocoressi currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of Arts in San Francisco and in the MFA program in creative writing at Warren Wilson College.

Calvocoressi's books are currently available at the Bowdoin Bookstore. Multiple recordings of her poetry can be heard online at O'Donnell's website,