Smith spends time piecing his words to make beautiful poems
November 7, 2014
time is constantly tricking me. I’m old bones in new skin, with eyes somewhere between”
He sits in his room. Words rumble in his head, mixing around, reforming, until he finally spits them onto paper through his pen. His words scrawl across the page, lines of personal thoughts, his takes on society, his romantic ideals. Finally, he finishes. The words in his head gone, painting pages in front of him. Out in the world. Suddenly, a spark. A new word appears, reproducing, mangling itself, separating and conjoining with the others now joining it. The process begins again.
Senior Kaleb Smith loves to write poetry. Since his sophomore year he’s been writing free verse poetry to adequately convey his feelings and share his thoughts. Where he got his inspiration for writing is a mystery to him, but it’s still a major part of his life that consumes many hours of it.
“I’m really not sure, because I didn’t really write poetry at all until sophomore year.” senior Kaleb Smith said. “I just started writing. I really cannot remember if there was any specific event that started it. I may have just decided on day to sit down and write a poem. It may have stemmed from a class assignment. I’m really not sure. Once I did start writing, I figured out it was something I could do relatively well. It was a really good outlet for me, emotionally and creatively. I would write, some days, ten poems a day. I started reading other poets like Emily Dickinson. She had written a poem a day for almost a year. I didn’t write a poem a day for a year, but I probably wrote the same amount of poems in a few months that she wrote in a year.”
In his writings, Smith tries to mirror the ones that inspire him without copying them directly. He reads their poetry to learn and to help mature his personal writing. While his writings at first were cliche, he attempts to overcome that and rise above that to a new plane of writing which is very difficult to achieve.
“There’s a whole lot of different people I take inspiration from,” Smith said. “Of course, Dickinson, Plath, not so much the very depressing content, more the style. I like to take some from Ginsburg every now and then with the associative thinking. This leads to this and it doesn’t tend to make a whole lot of sense unless you really look into what train of thought brought on this series of words. I try to write less cliche than I used to. I used to write a lot of really cliche things. I try to stick even less and less to convention as much as possible. That means it’s actually really difficult to actually write a poem, because I won’t reiterate the same thing in slightly different wording over and over again like I may have been prone to do in the past. I try not to do the same sort of theme anymore. I try to keep it different than what I used to do while still keeping the core of why I’m writing.”
Smith mainly writes about subjects that aren’t acceptable to discuss in normal conversation. He believes that there needs to be a way to discuss these parts of human existence without making people uncomfortable.
“I like to write in a confessional kind of thing, almost akin to Sylvia Plath and Sexton,” Smith said. “It’s kind of like, writing about things that no one wants to talk about or things that it’s taboo to talk about or it’s just not polite to talk about. That doesn’t mean it has to be rude or morbid or gross or anything like that. It’s just things that tend to make people feel uncomfortable. It’s good to get that stuff out there because while it does make people uncomfortable, it’s still a part of their lives.”
Even staying away from cliches, Smith finds himself writing romantic poems as well. However, he has a different take on this subject, trying to take on a romantic tone without intently focusing on a person of desire.
“A lot of those poems I wrote in the three to four months were love kind of poems,” Smith said. “I do still tend to have a lot of romantic themes. Even though it may not necessarily be about love, the words and the themes are still very romantic even though it may not be about a person.”
Writing is an outlet for Smith that is comparative to no other in his life. His reasons for writing are to help remove any negative thoughts and be able to release himself from the strain they cause. He also writes to work off excess excitement and happiness so he’s not consumed by that.
“It’s really to keep things that are inside of me, that are inside of my heart, from overflowing in a negative way,” Smith said. “Because if it’s a negative emotion, that’s obviously a bad thing to have too much of. And if it’s a positive emotion, it’s still not a good thing to have too much excitement or something because you will ultimately get to a point where someone else can’t match your excitement. So you’re just left with this sort of disappointing and overwhelming amount of excitement for something that no one else really cares for. So it’s really important to get that all out into words. It really does feel kind of cathartic to get it all out.”