Say ‘Yes’ to Poetry

Eve Slemp

If I’m going to be honest, I’m not that into poetry. (Sorry, s. Buckley!) When librarian Jeannine Barber asked me
to participate in the Intergenerational Poetry Project with previous editor-in-chief Noelle Avena last year, I was initially quite hesitant.

I’d never written poetry before. The only experience I had with poetry was in Ms. Buckley’s AP Literature class. But, I had this “Say yes!” mentality, which I do recommend for anyone and everyone, so I agreed to participate.

And it was the best decision I’ve made.

I had the opportunity to meet and connect with a local elder, Hardeep, who is a beautiful, humble woman from Kenya. I met with her for two hours at a time every couple weeks at her quaint home where we shared crumpets and tea (very poetic, I know).

She told me stories of her life, growing up in Kenya, traveling to London for university, and moving to America to pursue nursing. Her story was truly inspiring and it was my duty to capture her life in poems.

Now, this was quite the daunting task as someone who had little-to-no experience with poetry, but I sat down at my kitchen table, coffee in hand, and wrote.

I was able to create five impactful poems, depicting each stage of her life: from youth to present time.

In early spring 2022, a celebration at the Mystic Library provided the setting for where I read aloud the poems I
had crafted.

Nervously, with the papers rattling in my hands, I stood in front of the audience, about to relay Hardeep’s story through my artful words. And so I began…

After I read, I looked up at the silent room and saw the tear- filled eyes beaming at me, especially Hardeep’s. She told me how moved she was by my poetry and how she had no idea how I could make her seemingly “insignificant” life sound so important and powerful.

It showed me my passion for writing can be found in different mediums and how writing can uncover the gravity of a
seemingly “insignificant” story. To her, and to many, their lives seem “insignificant” until they are shared through someone else’s inspired eyes and voice.

Hardeep and her family can now cherish her memories forever through poems and I left the Intergenerational Poetry
Project with a new appreciation of poetry and writing, one that has changed my life forever.