It was through writing poetry that I came to know my own voice and really appreciate literature. The poetic diction of Pablo Neruda, Ada Límon, Walt Whitman, Frank O’Hara and many more enabled me to see how such simple things could be expressed in such vividly, breathtaking ways. I believe that students should be given the opportunity to view inventiveness at its finest through closely studying acclaimed authors. Modeling will significantly help to inspire students to find a voice of their own.
I have been told before that when words are so powerful that they invoke a catharsis of emotions over a person, it is only then when worthy and impressive writing has occurred. The first time I cried when reading a creative piece was when I read Stanley Kunitz’s “Touch Me.” As his fluid voice somberly reads, “Darling, do you remember / the man you married? Touch me, / remind me who I am,” my heart opens to his honesty and desire even in his eighties. My body yields to the words he writes because of the power they behold. His diction moves the marrow in my bones and made me want to cry for the pain and longing the persona felt. Just by reading his words in various poems he has written I was immediately inspired to write in a way that made others feel beauty and pain all at once, like his poetry did for me.
For me, poetry is the notion that different deep emotions come out of writing. One piece may do this for one person and not for another. The point to be taken is that there is at least one author in a sea of books that can make words come so alive for an individual. It is seeing these words collaborated so perfectly together and feeling their allure all together that makes writing a significant process. It is not the continuous task of drafting, editing, redrafting, peer editing, etc.—it is crafting a piece of work that the writer himself is so proud of. It is about that piece making music on the paper and speaking so deeply to the writer’s underlying beliefs.
Writing is something that has become a part of me. In time its roots expand deeper and deeper into the core of me. I have been a writer ever since I was able to comprehend language and compose sentences. Transforming my thoughts and feelings into poetic jargon had come naturally to me even at a young age. When my grandfather died I told my father at the age of 12, “Dad, how beautiful—Pop is the earth. And the earth is the plants, and the trees, and the hummingbirds. He’s everywhere.” My mind does not think in a lateral way, nor is the movement of my comprehension literal—I think metacognitively, in iambic pentameter, through form, and with compositional risks. This way of life has built a way of thinking for myself that is unique and helps me to write the deepest parts of me on paper.
My main philosophy of writing is that it is indeed a process, and never is it final. This is something my high school students would tell you incessantly if given the chance to speak with them. The process of revision is so important to me because I can track and reflect on the growth of work from its starting point, to where it currently is.
As a person who loves poetry, the rhythm, the forms, the figurative language, the writers (the list goes on), more than my life it has become clear that writing for publication and my own desire is all-important for me to live a fulfilling life. Poetry makes me realize that words are all I need; and the less I need, the better I feel.