Ashley Gong on Being a National Student Poet



so thing is all my life I've always been a really avid reader ever since I was little I was an early reader and then in elementary school I got into writing creative writing but it's mostly pros at that time poetry wasn't really something that I'd really been stirred into and it was until my freshman year that I was kind of looking for a challenge away from pro something else to kind of like brought in my kind of literature interest so I discovered poetry and I started reading many different poets and I kind of just my interest for it to screw from there and I began to write it which eventually led to the national student poets program and answering your second question it definitely means a lot to me because we're i'm fron poetry is kind of like on the frame just not something that's really talked about or discuss a lot before the program I never met another like poet my life before so it's been really great just to meet so many amazing people who are also passionate not only about the program but also about poetry and I've had so many opportunities to connect with people and talk with them and share all of our interests and passions it's been great so I live in Sandy Hook and so my poetry community service project idea kind of revolves around taking the tragedy that happened there two years ago and kind of having a series of workshops I'm planning on working with healing Newtown to the Arts which is an organization that was founded immediately afterwards to kind of organize like arts efforts around the community and to kind of create like positive change so my project specifically I'm hoping to have it in two parts so one of them would be like a community poem so being able to have people from all over the community kind of contribute their ideas around this one theme and a positive themes such as either hope or unity something that could really bring the community together and then the other phase of it would be having a series of workshops that would focus on kind of kind of reflecting upon the world both externally and internally and also it would use poetry as a way to promote empathy at the end I hope to have a final poetry night where I could take both of these community poems that are generated and also the workshop participants and just bring all these different things together to show that poetry it's not only way to reflect on the past but also a way to kind of move on into the future a lot of my first drafts of poems are just very stream of consciousness whatever comes to my mind really just goes on the page I feel like that's just really exciting just being able to take all these kind of thoughts that haven't really been formed yet and watching them just take shape on the page and watching them grow over time to more I guess polished pizzas at work okay so this one is called goldfish her bones are sharp and angular steel beams jutting out from taught canvas and her eyes are two quivering sea water orbs staring a gape like light bulbs ordered a size too large she's 42 but shrinking a tshirt left to shrivel on Nebraska telephone wires the grades soap water leached by 100,000 thirsty pixels of sky at home she's smaller she wraps fabric threads around her waist and calls it a dress she had to use the others to mend his plaid shirt she walks in whispers vows to the Lord at 6pm and sells the beads on her anklet to follow him across dead-end roads and cornfield highways home is not a sanctuary but a bird's nest of contradictions old keys rusted from caustic engine breath crumpled bits of styrofoam in days old tea a time-worn vacuum cleaner in the corner oh he's wheezing spools of blue eyed lace ribbon unworn sometimes when she's home alone she feeds the goldfish and tries to build a house of cards her hands are deftly as she gingerly places one on top of the other but the house never Rises higher than the kitchen door knob its peak oh he's scraping just below it he pocketed the king card long ago you

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