When we found out that COMPAS marketing intern Michael Salazar enjoyed writing poetry and prose, we asked if he'd share his thoughts on National Poetry Month. Boy howdy, are we glad we did!
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, an art form that I personally believe to be one the most honest expressions of human creativity.
The ability to, for lack of a better term, “vomit” one’s ideas and emotions onto a piece of paper through words alone is liberating to say the least. Dedicating an entire month to this art is well deserved.
A poem has no boundaries or limits-no restrictions or confinement. While there are schemes and formats a person can use, there’s no right or wrong way to let those words flow from beneath a pen. This is why poetry should without a doubt be implemented within younger generations.
In a world where we are so reliant on set schedules, rules, and expectations, poetry doesn’t need any of that.
Allowing kids and young adults in school to have time and opportunities to access that freedom of writing can be life-altering, whether it be in their personal life or academic. Instead of bottling up emotions that might be plaguing their everyday life, they are able to release them onto a blank space (Taylor Swift pun intended).
Growing up I was constantly writing. I remember the day it all began. I was a rambunctious second grader with little patience. It was Halloween night and my family and I had planned on going to the annual Ramsey County Fright Farm. Anyone who lives around the area knows how big of a deal it is, and for me it was my equivalent of Christmas morning. My anticipation for this haunted house went noticed. I kept bothering my older brother, asking if we would leave soon. Like a natural Taurus I was persistent and stubborn, continuing to inquire our departure time.
Finally my brother had two choices: put a muzzle on me, or give me something to preoccupy my time. Thankfully he chose the latter. He gave me a yellow wide-ruled notebook with a mechanical pencil and told me to draw and/or write something. The first thing I did was draw an ice cream truck. Even as a second grader I knew stick figures were not my form of artistry.
Then I wrote about the ice cream truck.
And like a rolling snow ball collecting in size, I started writing about everything. I jotted down poems about my cat-nip obsessed felines, or stories about family Thanksgivings. Anything that came to my mind I felt obligated to scratch in that flimsy notebook. I would force feed my stories and poems onto my classmates and have them write “reviews” on the front page, as if their opinion was as relevant as a columnist from the Pioneer Press.
Point being, writing was the form of personal expression that gave me the confidence and ability to openly express my creativity in a way I didn’t feel was given to me in school. Granted, it wasn’t always poetry, but when that pen hit that paper and the words started filling up the lines, I felt like my voice was the loudest in the room. We have the opportunities to give someone that same feeling.
In a little over a month I’ll be twenty-four, and still to this day I’ll be forever grateful that in second grade my brother gave me a pen and paper instead of the TV remote control.
by Michael Salazar