A poem and some thoughts on being a newcomer again

Essays by Shalon Sims on education, creative writing and literacy

A poem and some thoughts on being a newcomer again


I do a lot of writing about creative writing on this website, but never have I ever shared my own creative writing here. And never have I ever shared a poem, not here and not anywhere else, because, up until the past month or so, I wasn’t someone who wrote poetry. I had cut away that part of myself in my early twenties.

I say cut because it was a savage operation. It wasn’t a choice or a gentle parting of ways. Poetry was a gangrene limb that threatened my survival. It needed to go. I didn’t understand poetry and I couldn’t do poetry and my fragile ego couldn’t handle that. It needed to go. And so it went, and ever since, I’ve been a malformed writer with a missing limb.

And all along, I knew something was missing. I knew it, but I truly didn’t think I could ever find that part of myself again. I got lost somewhere along the way, needing to be a successful writer. Needing my writing to take me somewhere tangible. Needing writing to bolster my self-esteem, instead of what it used to be in my youth: just creativity for the sake of it. Exploration.

My poetry writing course this semester changed all of this. I can say it: I am a poet. Saying it fills me with a sweet nostalgic awkwardness. It’s wonderful to be in this place of newcomer again. It’s wonderful to peek inside the window and wonder if I’m welcome, and to find out that, yes, I am.

Sheryda, you created such a warm, cosy place where everyone is welcome. You made poetry accessible. You are the universal designer for poetry, the UDoP, who wasn’t happy with a hackjob ramp into a backdoor in the alley. You created a course that enabled all of us to access poetry with grace and dignity.

I forgot how precious it is to be a newcomer. So there is my poem. Not a perfect poem, and certainly not a proud reflection of what my ego wants you to see of me, but one layer of the truth underneath. Not the whole truth, but piece of it.




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