Meeting Wisconsin Poet Laureate Margaret Rozga


Martin Vu, Writer, Editor

Sharing stories over a meal is a simple but effective way to meet new people. Professor Christina Kubasta invited me to join her and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga for dinner. I took along with me John Lopez, a friend of mine from Marian.

It was a great opportunity meeting Margaret, she asked us to call her Peggy. As we waited for our meal, she told me a bit about her history and the reasons why she writes poetry. To educate and connect with others, she speaks up about the racial problems in Milwaukee, WI.

I was surprised and astonished when she mentioned her 200-day protest that eventually became her first book, “200 Nights and One Day.” This is a collection of poetry that conveys the emotional journey that Peggy experienced when she joined the protestors and was jailed for standing up for her beliefs. 

After the meal, we headed to the THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts. This is where Peggy and others would share their poems and stories. Peggy was very softspoken at the meal, but the moment she began performing her poems, she was a voice for all to hear. Her first two poems engaged with the audience, inviting us to speak with her. This connection portrayed the idea of a protest. The repetition between a leader and a group visualized this movement and rally. She continued with poems that gave a history lesson and finished with some newer works. 

I enjoyed the rest of the night as well. I was able to listen to Peggy share the situations that she is passionate about. This was followed by many speakers who offered their favorite poems and tales. The atmosphere was so supportive and thoughtful. Throughout the night, I made sure to search up and write down the poems I liked. I felt the emotions that everyone was expressing. I cherished the opportunity to listen to such creative individuals, and I look forward to another similar opportunity in the future.