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Growth as a Poet Reflection

Mylie Lanier
Lori Fisher
P.2-3
5/17/19

The goal of my poem is to communicate that life can feel like climbing a mountain.
You start at the bottom, hoping to reach the summit. Some days it feels like your climb is
stalled, and you make little progress. However, if you push on, the summit stays in sight
and the climb feels achievable. You realize that your perspective can either slow you
down, or empower you. My poem reflects on the innocence of childhood and the
protection of your parents as the easy days. As you become more independent,
challenges get in your way. But redirecting your focus to the positive reminds you that life
is incredible and you can always reach the peak. I wanted to convey that, and stick to that
theme throughout my poem. While writing my first draft, I feel like I stuck to my theme, but
the language needed work. I didn’t use enough descriptive language, for example:
“Middle school was just the beginning, the judgment and the little groups of kids who are
too cool. They’d walk down the hall, whispering.” The language was weak; the poem and
tone of it wasn’t strong. However, once I started to refine my poem and rewrite some of
the lines, I put in descriptive language and poetic devices. It improved the tone and added
so many other layers to my poem, for example: “Middle school was just the beginning, the
judgment and the little groups of kids who are too cool, they’d walk down the hall
whispering with fake tattoos up their bony arms, they have the cool snacks that gush in
your mouth.” Since I refined my poem and have rewritten the stanzas using different
devices and language, it made it more sophisticated and powerful. It now sounds exactly
how I wanted.

I made several changes from my first draft to my final, but the most significant
change was adding more to it. When I was finishing writing, it had all the critical elements
that I wanted in my poem. While writing the first draft, I had difficulty coming up with a
transition and struggled with getting everything that I wanted to say down on paper. I
struggled with getting all of my thoughts down in a beautiful way, that had rhythm, and got
my point across. I got stuck and couldn’t think of what to add next. The first part was all
about darkness and the loss of hope. I wanted to have the tone shift and express the
beauty in life. However, I couldn’t figure out a way to execute it: “They talk bad behind
your back, and you hear a whisper as you pass, your parents say they can’t be talking
about you, but their false smiles tell you otherwise. Every day it’s the same thing, the
books pile up, and the work piles up. Drowning in things you aren’t interested in, and you
know won’t affect your future.” Then, I got advice from Lori, and all of the words seemed
to flow out, and onto the page, the tone shifted and I was able to communicate the beauty
along with the pain of life: “Zoom, refocus the lens and turn it to the left. We have dark
tunnel vision that makes it so hard to see. Striking a match, we can light up the tunnel;
that light will carry, carry down the tunnel. It adds brightness and hope, making you
grateful, now looking at everything in a different way.”

Another significant change I made to my poem was adding various metaphors


about matches. Matches also represent life. When you light a match, it continues to burn,
it adds light and warmth. If you blow it out, or it burns out, that light will disappear, and it
will become cold and scary. Still, you can always light another one; enjoy the heat and
beauty of the fire, just like life. When I started to write the first draft I never thought of
comparing life to a match. I knew I wanted to address the ups and downs in life and how
everything gets better even though you may feel hopeless at times. However, I didn’t
think of comparing life to a match: “As a child everything, everything was easy, the grass
was between your toes. You never cared if you were running naked. Your parents did
everything for you; as a child, you had ease and no worries.” I feel that the first draft of my
poem was strong, but after adding metaphors and imagery about light and fire, it attached
another level to my poem and made it much stronger: “The pushes in life make you, you
need to struggle you need to feel the pain. It reminds you, you are alive, and your match
will always be lit.” I am satisfied that I spoke to Lori and got her opinion because I believe
that the metaphors I came up with gave my poem more purpose.

The final and most significant change I made, that reshaped it was when I added
“zoom” to the middle and end of my poem. This line became a crucial part of the poem. It
reminded me to slow down while reciting it, and it represents the tone shifts within the
poem. When I added “zoom” it was meant to be like a bomb. I wanted my poem to have
significant tone shifts and be spoken with different speeds and intensity, adding the line
“zoom” made that happen and enhanced those shifts, speeds, and meanings. The first
draft of my poem was powerful and intense, but it needed something: “Every day it’s the
same thing, the books pile up, and the work piles up. Drowning in things you aren’t
interested in, and you know won’t affect your future.” Putting “zoom” into it added a whole
other level and made the poem so much more influential: “Every day it’s the same thing,
the books pile up, and the work piles up, It’s too much! WAIT!!! Zoom. Refocus the lens
and turn it to the left.”

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