International Poetry Night recognizes beauty of languages


Photo by Jen-Feng Liu for The Lafayette

Olivia Simione ’26 recited a poem in Spanish.

Where do language lovers and poets unite? Where are stanzas and stories honoring heritage celebrated? Look no further than International Poetry Night.

Faculty and students gathered in Skillman Library last Tuesday for International Poetry Night to honor a love for language and poetry through a partnership between the language and literary studies department, Skillman Library and the International Student Association (ISA).

During the event, six readers shared their original work and seven more shared the work of another author in languages including Hindi, Bengali, Italian, Farsi, Nepali, Persian, German, Spanish and Urdu. 

“The beauty of it is to hear a native language spoken by a native speaker and appreciate that poetry is an art form beyond just the words and gather meaning through [more than] just the language itself,” Kate Pitts, administrative and access services specialist at Skillman Library, said.

“I just had a smile on my face the whole time because it was just so beautiful to hear the different languages, different styles of recitation, different emotions, different contexts. It was just wonderful,” ISA president Yazdan Basir ’23 said.

Pitts first introduced the idea of an International Poetry Night to Lafayette students earlier this year. During her undergraduate studies at Moravian University as a foreign language major, Pitts appreciated the opportunity to practice her French through poetry nights and wanted to share her love for this event with the Lafayette community. 

“It started for me as a way to practice my language skills, but in this context on this campus, it’s really been more international student-driven and an opportunity for them to share their native language and their love of their native cultures with others on campus,” Pitt said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to bring to Lafayette but never really had the time and opportunity to.” 

During the event, Tingting Kang, director of the English for Academic Purposes Center, announced the winners of the Global Expressions: Writing Beyond the Mother Tongue contest, which allowed students to share work that is written in their second, third, fourth or even fifth languages.

Ali Sultan Sikandar won first place with “A Pakistani Student’s Voyage” and Landy Rakotoarison ’26 won second place with “Culture Shock of a Malagasy Student Studying Abroad for the First Time.”

Third place went to Yi Luo ’26 and LiangYu Pang ’26 for “From the ‘Peach Garden’ to the ‘Garden of Eden,'” Julin Kang ’26 for “Some Observations of American Society: Things that are Different from My Previous Perceptions” and Qinwen Deng ’26 for “My Evolving Perception of American Culture.”

The winning pieces can be found at

Both Pitts and Basir hope that the event will become a tradition at Lafayette.

“Hopefully, in the future, we can expand it to make it an annual event, and because there are so many original poetry works, I am hoping that down the line there might be some avenues to exploring that as well,” Pitts said.

“I would love to have this continue and have as many people as possible because thirteen is a lot of people, especially for a poetry night, but it goes by [quickly] and you just want it to continue,” Basir said.