Writing (Good?) Poetry During College

Writing (Good?) Poetry During College

College, they say, is the best years of your life. Are they the most creative?

Zak Erickson

(I hope that) I'd hardly be pretentious enough to call myself a good poet, at least at this point in my life. I do, however, spend a good deal of my time writing poetry and planning what I hope will be a lifelong career of poetry-writing.. (It is to that end that I have a Creative Writing Concentration alongside my English major here at Fordham.) The cover photo for this article is important to me: T.S. Eliot is my favorite poet, and a good portion of his major published work (notably "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock") was drafted while he was still an undergraduate.

Eliot would later call "Prufrock" embarrassingly adolescent. He only said this, of course, after publishing a good deal more work that showed greater maturity. Nobody questions, at any rate, its seminal significance in the saga of Modernism; and while, I, too, find immaturity in it compared to Eliot's later poetry, there are some sections (such as the final stanza) that I find undoubtedly wonderful. I can never get them out of my head.

During the summer of 2018, I went to Gloucester, MA for a few days in homage to how Eliot summered there as a boy. In Buenos Aires this past semester, I bought a copy of Eliot's posthumously-published "Inventions of the March Hare", which includes a good deal of college-days verse. A lot of it was unpublished until his death precisely because he considered them to be inferior to what he considered his best work. They were, for him, however, useful exercises in refining his poetic voice.

I'm well aware that quality is more important than quantity, and that it's very easy to produce garbage when solely pursuing the latter. I thus hardly suppose that I'd be foolhardy enough to want to publish every piece of verse written in my free time during my Fordham experience. I do, however, consider some of it valuable or useful. And that makes it very worthwhile.

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