Wake: Up to Poetry
A Sort of Homecoming
There is something special about returning to a place that you call home, whether it is a childhood memory, a small town left many years ago, or even a country returned to after being abroad. It is the feeling of familiarity tinged with change; something is different even though so much remains in tact. Maybe it has changed. Maybe you are different.
Today begins Wake Forest University’s Homecoming celebration, a week long event filled with tradition and transformation. Hundreds of alumni—some recent graduates, some who graduated fifty years ago—are making the trek back to the Forest to see the campus, reminisce with friends, and talk about home.
Nostalgia hangs heavy in the air. Current students are getting excited, thinking both about the past and the future. They look back at their time here, what they’ve done so far, and then think to the future, about how it is all going to change. And past students come back to share in memories and talk about experiences, to see how the home that they once knew isn’t quite home anymore.
American college students and alumni aren’t the only ones to experience a homecoming and the realization of change it brings. All over the world, people transition from one stage to another in their lives, leaving behind different homes and different selves. And so the idea of returning is universal. So is the knowledge that once you leave, you are never the same.
As students who graduated long before any of us at the Press arrived return to Mother, so Dear, we think about coming home. And how home is never quite what you remember.
“I once thought that a single word
had the power to change.
But these had not been changed.
And I would not be changed by it again.
If I could not say the word home.”
Home by Eavan Boland,
The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry, 1967-2000.