NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Creative writing students in Nacogdoches were treated to a visit by a national poet laureate, who shared her insight into the importance of creative writing and poetry.
Naomi Shihab Nye will serve as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2021. The designation comes from the Poetry Foundation, which allows Nye to travel the United States for those two years to teach creative writing and poetry to young people.
Some adults say they don't get teenagers. Be careful. What you say back to them may end up in their poems.
"Ok, I'm ready to get in trouble for this one," smiled Noble Peck before reading one of his poems.
He didn’t get any reprimands from Young People’s Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye. The award-winning writer/teacher jump-started the thought process.
"We just need questions, interests," she suggested to students to think about for a poem.
Then she listened intently to students’ poems that they wrote in a matter of minutes.
“That is so honest. I just got a chill. Wow. Great job," Nye said, while clapping with approval upon the completion of one shared poem.
Nye has been in classrooms all her adult life. Connecting with young people comes easy.
“I think teenagers have an innate skill with language. I’m feeling in your students a capacity of sharing difficult material in an authentic way,” Nye shared.
The idealism can be found in all the volumes of Barrio Writers, a published work that follows a summer writing workshop in Nacogdoches. Some of the creative writers in Nye’s workshop are members.
“I write a lot of poetry,” said Nacogdoches High School student Helena Ormsby. “Mostly very emotional based on my past, based on my mental state. Depends on my mood.”
“That’s very powerful. Thank you,” Nye said after reading a poem of a personal nature.
Nye's sensitivity lets young adults know there's someone listening.
“That’s what everyone strives for as a writer,” Nye said. “How do I share something that is meaningful? I’m impressed with them.”
The accomplished writer sincerely encourages her students.
For adults with less confidence in this generation, Nye has a suggestion.
“A lot of people these days think that because of the Internet and the constant e-mailing and texting that we are all kind of obsessed with, that we will lose that solitary skill of being alone with words,” Nye said. “But I urge people to read a little longer than you usually read; go to the library a little more. You won’t regret it. It will feed you with everything else you do.”
Another example could be connecting with a young person who relies on paper to do the listening.