I’ve always had a complicated relationship with poetry. I emotionally connect more to stories and characters rather than imagery and figurative language, so I’ve always gravitated to fiction instead of poetry. I liked the occasional sonnet here or limerick there, but for pretty much all of high-school, poetry was a slog. It wasn’t until a good way into my time in college that my perspective began to shift. I had a class on Modernism that spent a nearly a month going over T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, and I started to see how you can put so much emotional power into a small amount of words.

A few semesters later, I saw a slot was open for a poetry workshop course. While I knew poetry was the great unknown for me as a writer, I decided to take on the challenge. Below are several of the poems I wrote, all of which have been peer-reviewed, workshopped, and revised.

When people ask why I’m quiet

The prompt for the last poem of the course was to write around five hundred words of prose and whittle it down to a small poem with intentional language and line-breaks. I decided to write about a question that plagued me a lot as a kid, and still struggle with from time to time as an adult.

Guide to Grocery Shopping

For this poem we had to teach our audience how to do something. With my many years working at a grocery store, I saw an opportunity to express some common frustrations, but with a more satirical twist.

ode to addiction

I have the type of personality that, if I’m not careful, can easily fall into addiction; it’s the part of me that frightens me the most. The prompt for this poem was a list of around ten words we had to incorporate (25 points to Gryffindor if you can guess which are the ten words). When I read the list, I knew this was the poem I had to write.


I was probably most intimidated by this prompt. We had to scour the web for a work of art we resonated with and use it as our seed. I have a hard time connecting to poetry…let alone art. Luckily, I stumbled upon Toxicity by Samuel Levi Jones and found a story to tell.

Type-A Night-Time Terrors

The challenge for this poem was to listen to conversations or sounds around you and find a creative seed. While at a party, several of us were throwing knives and hatchets at a wooden target. When something bounced off, it had a very particular, hollow tone that made me think of how, at least for me, a mistake can linger in your head, especially in the wee hours of the night.

Long-Distance Fluctuations

While this was the first poem I wrote in the course (not going to lie, it was a little rough), I was so happy with the revision that it still earned its place here. While we did not have a specific prompt, I wanted to make sure I had enough emotional distance to accept criticism gracefully. This is actually the story of a friend of mine who went through an on-again-off-again relationship for a year.