First week of my second semester of senior year, and my english class is assigned to write a poem. I’m not a hater of poetry, in fact, I admire it and encourage my friends to trust in its mending of the mind. However, analyzing and writing it holds a bit of a challenge for me.
I have a bit more of a psychoanalytic affinity for the sciences of the mind, which is why I love to write directly on the subject rather than creating an obscure (mind you, brilliant) extended metaphor or palace of symbolism. Of course, I enjoy reading it, but I struggle to create the ideas of such gifted literary elements to incorporate in a poem.
However, my english teacher, being a passionate advocate for open minds, inspired our class toward a more approachable template of poetry: she presented poet Shane Koyczan that wrote and videoed a ten step poem titled “How to be a person.” In it, he elaborates on his moral values and their importance toward humanity. As a result, she encouraged us to artistically express the morals and important objects of humanity that are meaningful to each of us, personally.
We were required to write three stanzas, each starting with a directive and incorporate eleven lines of poetry emphasizing the values that we believe guide us toward a happier and healthier life. Like Koyczan, she had us record our voices reading our work while including the text as we read it, and additionally include an artistic element (music, art, etc).
I appreciated the way Koyczan carried out his art utilizing a solid colored background and a simple text font, so I did the same. I’d like to share my work here to showcase just some of the elements of humanity that I find to be most valuable. Of course, I have many other thoughts in regards to morality but I expounded on these three for certain reasons: clarity, mindfulness, and above all, perspective.
For reference: here is the original, “How to be a person” poem by Shane Koyczan.