FSU alum Enzo Silon Surin shares his passion for poetry

Caroline Gordon / THE GATEPOST

Those who have a passion for poetry came together at the Heineman Ecumenical Center for a reading, hosted by the English Department, from the 2022 Miriam Levine reader, poet Enzo Silon Surin. 

Surin is a Haitian-born poet, speaker, educator, and social advocate who graduated from FSU in 2000.

Lisa Eck, chair of the English Department, said the poetry reading is “historic” as Surin is the first Miriam Levine reader to be taught by Miriam Levine. 

Surin said it was a “pleasure” to be back at FSU as he felt like he was “coming home.” 

He added, “To have an entire day built around my work is very emotional. I’m trying not to cry over the pages. It means so, so much to me because Framingham State has always been part of my story.” 

Surin described his time as a student at FSU, noting that if he had not met Miriam Levine, he would have had to keep “searching for his purpose.” 

He said he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology, but something was “revving up inside” of him, something he “could not deny.” 

Surin said his father persuaded him to find a job in the psychology field as his father did not think he would make enough money working as a poet. 

He said when his first book, “Higher Ground” was published, his father told him that he “mastered the English language,” meaning Surin made him proud. 

Surin explained that as a Haitian-born immigrant, he had difficulty expressing himself, but eventually writing became his outlet. 

“Never did I imagine that writing would take me to the places it has taken me,” he said. 

He explained the city he grew up in, Queens, New York, made him have to “fight for himself” because of the negative environmental influences that he did not know how to articulate to his friends and family inspired him to write, “When My Body Was A Clenched Fist.” 

Surn read a poem from the book titled, “Birth of a Clenched Fist” as aspiring poets and writers sat on the edges of their seats. 

Born in epidemic—circa 1986 Jamaica,

Queens—when tiny white caps filled—

modern-day cotton—moored most under

a parking lot’s dim cone of light—when

paraded in chambers of those born to triggers

was that sin which weaned father

from son; tricked out the best in us—

a resilient few kept from boxes,

though what was left was worsted in haze

on those horrid nights—when what was

promissory was plight was norm,

and what was dealt—mnemonic so strong

I kept it in my mind like one rehearsing

lines in an orograph for pain—

a pain, like bait, that turned gain

into the cleanest demise—when I stood

to cleave it, the fight empty as cavity,

the strife—marked by omission. Everything

I saw was enemy—even this face, fair game.

Visit https://www.enzosurinink.org/ to read more of Enzo’s poetry.