How did you first engage with poetry?
I was fortunate to have a grade school English teacher who had a passion for poetry; her name was Mrs. Smircich and, for her class, we were required to memorize two poems and recite them in class. I cannot recall the poems I memorized, but there are two bright light bulbs of memory from that experience: we were forbade from memorizing Shel Silverstein and I was introduced to the first poem that truly shook my core from the inside—“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. While some of my classmates snickered at “breast” and “bosom”, the lull of the rhymes reminded me of prayer. Every time I am awe-struck by nature Kilmer’s spirit nods in approval. That year I ended up reading a lot of Robert Frost who was the first poet I ever loved. As it were, I had a healthy respect for nature poets so I found Emerson eventually, and before I knew it, my love of poetry had begun.