I Want to Lose

In many ways, poetry has become an art of the past. There aren’t very many well-known poets in our world today. We often encounter black and white pictures of men and women who were engulfed by their passion for poetry like this one.

The woman you see in the picture above is Elizabeth Bishop. She was an American poet and short-story writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for her work. My favorite poem, “One Art,” was written by her. But before I tell you why it’s my favorite, please take the time to enjoy this beautiful piece of literature:

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.


Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.


Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.


I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.


I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.


—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Now that you’ve taken a moment to let the words sink in, let me tell you what it all means to me. I fell in love with poetry because of this poem; it’s the reason why I began to write poems of my own, so it is near and dear to my heart. Each time I read it, I have a different perspective on what it truly means and the significant lessons it holds about time. I like to think of it as an active poem that grows old with me. As time passes, its meaning becomes even more beautiful and significant.

Our world moves fast, so we must be efficient, strong, and diligent to survive. We are so consumed by our work and responsibilities that we become overly serious, pensive beings sedated by caffeine and stress. We begin to lose our sense of fun, wonder, susceptibility to silly distractions, and most importantly, the reason why we toil so much in the first place.

I know I can be self-critical, almost to a fault, over time I have spent laughing at a joke a friend shared, reminiscing over a childhood memory, or trying to figure out what life would be like in an alternate universe.

Elizabeth, in her comforting wisdom, tells us that it’s okay to lose things, because sometimes, they are meant to be lost.

She helps us realize that these small (or big) imperfections are a part of us. It’s human to lose, to waste. This does not mean that we shouldn’t work to be better; it simply means that any effort aimed at improving ourselves comes from a framework of true self-acceptance.

We may never accomplish every goal, go everywhere, or find everything we were looking for, and that’s okay! In the end, it doesn’t cause the damage we fear it would; therefore, Elizabeth actually encourages us to practice losing—it’s no disaster. Letting go of things, people, and places can be incredibly beautiful and liberating. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a loser!

Written by Kenean

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A Poem for Fall Break

You know just when I need you, and I love it when you come.

You take away my worries when I’m starting to feel numb.

You understand that college isn’t always how it seems.

It isn’t quite as wonderful as how I’d always dreamed.

I work so hard to make it through each single day alive,

but now I’m growing tired, and I’m breaking out in hives.

It’s been so long since seeing you, my sweet partner-in-crime.

So, thanks for being punctual and coming right on time.

What do you have in store for us? I’m not too hard to please.

Netflix? Hulu? Amazon? I’m down for all of these.

My one request is that you stay as long as you can bear.

You tend to leave before I’m ready and leave my heart in tears.

I understand that you can’t stay as long as I would like,

but I refuse to let you go without putting up a fight.

I love you more than riding boots and “Starbucks Pumpkin Spice.”

So, when you’re gone, this season will be nothing more than ice.

Okay, you’re right. There is no ice, just a blazing “autumn” sun,

which only proves my point that my life’s sadder when you’re done.

While this is true, I know we must enjoy the time we’ve got.

So let’s just crawl up on the couch and never leave that spot.

Written by Haley

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The Memory Shall Be Ours

Of all the national holidays, Memorial Day is perhaps the most somber. Each year, Americans pause to remember those who have died in service of our country, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect the American people.

Traditionally, Memorial Day was called “Decoration Day,” a holiday that honored fallen Union soldiers in the years following the Civil War. As the commemoration evolved, it was adopted as a national holiday and was expanded to include all service members who died in every American war, past and future.

Today, Memorial Day is solemnly celebrated by placing flags on the graves of every service member. Many cities and towns across the United States hold ceremonial events, honoring their fallen soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors. At 3 p.m. nationally, Americans are encouraged to hold a Moment of Remembrance, pausing in silent reflection to remember the sacrifice of fallen members of the United States Armed Forces.

For many Americans, the loss of a loved one in service of the country is still fresh. Some have given a son or daughter. Others have been deprived of a parent. Many have lost friends, their brothers- and sisters-in-arms. Their losses must not be forgotten.

A sacrificial death is not taken lightly in the United States. Fallen service members are given the highest respect and the greatest honor. The Bible’s poignant words illustrate the universal notion held on Memorial Day: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Memorial Day serves as a moving reminder to Americans that to live in freedom, there must be a price.

Perhaps the nineteenth century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow best captured this reverence in his poem, “Decoration Day”:

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest

On this Field of the Grounded Arms,

Where foes no more molest,

Nor sentry’s shot alarms!


Ye have slept on the ground before,

And started to your feet

At the cannon’s sudden roar,

Or the drum’s redoubling beat.


But in this camp of Death

No sound your slumber breaks;

Here is no fevered breath,

No wound that bleeds and aches.


All is repose and peace,

Untrampled lies the sod;

The shouts of battle cease,

It is the Truce of God!


Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!

The thoughts of men shall be

As sentinels to keep

Your rest from danger free.


Your silent tents of green

We deck with fragrant flowers

Yours has the suffering been,

The memory shall be ours.

This Memorial Day, let us hold onto that memory of all the heroic Americans we have lost and remember to thank those still fighting for our safety and our country’s bright future.

Written by Jenna

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I Tried Creative Writing Prompts and Here’s What Happened

Articles with titles like “What I Learned by Shaving My Head” are my favorite kind. When I click on an article like that, I know that I’m getting genuine thoughts from somebody who is writing about an experience, not just a topic. Nobody wants advice from an inexperienced, self-proclaimed expert. All this to say: you’re welcome. I started to write a cookie cutter blog about creative writing and all the marvelous topics you can find on the internet to help you get started on your creative writing journey, when it occurred to me that I have never actually used writing prompts myself…

So, instead of suggesting you do something I’ve never even done, I decided to try them out. I found a creative writing website called Think Written that provides a unique prompt for every day of the year. I asked three of my coworkers to each choose a number between 1 and 365 and committed to writing about the corresponding topic. Naturally, I disliked all three topics, but for the sake of experiment I went through with it anyway. For clarification, each of the prompts are bolded, my commentary is in normal font, and the actual product is in italics.

89. Facebook or Twitter Status:Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update.

I don’t poem, so this was a discouraging start. At the suggestion of fellow writing consultant Isaac, I went for the easiest poem of all, a haiku. In a strange twist of fate, it happened to be Isaac’s status that first popped up on my Facebook feed: “This morning, as I sleepily ate my breakfast, I noticed that it kind of tasted like a waffle cone. Y’know, for ice cream. I was eating waffles. I guess they’re called waffle cones for a reason. *facepalm*”

A haiku about waffles; why not?

Waffles for breakfast

Ice cream in a waffle cone

Strangely similar

360. Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.

I started this creative writing challenge back on January 8, after having done literally nothing for the first few days of 2016. Oh joy. Since I hate writing poems, I went with a couple of journal entries instead, and this is the weirdness that was produced. I apologize in advance.

Dear Diary,

I’ve been assessing the past week of my life, and I’ve come to a terrifying conclusion: I live a very lowly existence. I have only accomplished three things this week. I’ve gone to work, I’ve cleaned my apartment, and I’ve consumed food. That is it. In my defense, these three things are forcing me into a vicious cycle. I get hungry, so I have to go to work to make money to buy food. When I cook the food, I usually make a mess and I am forced to clean it up. Cleaning then makes me hungry all over again. A vicious cycle I tell you!

As you might expect, upon making such a pathetic discovery, I decided to evaluate my life as whole. I backtracked to examine this past month and I hate to report that my findings are grim; I have spent my time doing only three things. You guessed it. Working. Cleaning. Eating. Panic led me to determine if this is something I have been doing all year long. And it is.

Aside from an occasional scroll through Facebook and a few episodes of Gilmore Girls, I have done nothing with my year except work, clean, and eat. Mozart composed over 600 works in just 30 years of life. Alexander Hamilton wrote 51 of The Federalist Papers essays in six months. Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in less than two weeks. And what am I doing with my time? Working, cleaning, and eating. White crayons contribute more to a coloring book than I do to society. I must figure out something to do with my life!

Dear Diary,

False alarm. Something important occurred to me last night as I lay awake pondering my measly existence. Sure, I may have spent this week, this month, and this year to date doing nothing of significance, but that’s okay. Because today is January 8. The week may be lost but the month and the year are young! Now I must go. It’s Friday night and I have plans.

204. Strength: Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.

The best thing that came to mind was the time I was a participant in the I Am Second Race and sprinted past some guy right at the end. This is the essay that memory inspired.

Beating boys is a lot of fun. Now, I don’t mean beating up boys, because that’s just mean. Beating them competitively is something entirely different.

In my heart of hearts I believe that sports are about having fun. Really, I do. They are fun, but they’re exponentially more fun when I’m the winner. In fact, I’ll just be honest and admit that I hate losing. I hate losing more than the Grinch used to hate Christmas. In my early years of playing sports I was taught to believe that any team can beat any other team on any given day (this is especially useful to remember when the Cowboys are playing). I was also taught that competing against boys is no exception to this rule.

I’ve played almost every sport available to me since I was four years old, and I’ve encountered many a male opponent. My all-girls-traveling- soccer team played games against our counterpart all-boys-traveling team on a regular basis. Basketball practices sometimes involved scrimmages against the guys. Driving range competitions at golf practice were usually held between boys and girls. Mixed doubles in tennis demanded that I play with and against boys. And races may give awards to separate gender categories, but when you’re out on the course, everybody is somebody to beat.

I have never once excused a loss simply because the winner happened to be of the male species. Sometimes girls out-run, out-shoot, out-swing, and all-around out-play boys. It’s not a big deal, though the world likes to pretend that it is. Competitiveness is a human trait, not exclusively masculine or feminine. Beating boys is fun; not because I feel like a successful underdog or a redeemed victim, but because winning is fun. That’s all there is to it.

And there you have it; my experiment with creative writing prompts is complete. If you want to give it a shot yourself, here’s the link to Think Written I can’t say that it’ll be an easy task or that I would recommend you do one every day, but writing prompts definitely have their advantages. It will be a fantastic way for you to sharpen up creative skills you may not have used in a while, and it will definitely boost your confidence as a writer. If you are capable of writing a poem about breakfast food, you are capable of writing about anything.

Written by Savanna

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Poetry In Construction

The drops of rain pounded like bullets off the tin roof. Their clang echoed within the mudded walls of my room. I sat on my bed reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet. As Charles Wallace rode atop Guadior, the winged unicorn, the rain water seeped through the window sill, the drops congregating in puddles on my room’s floors.

Working with locals

I was in Siquatepeque, Honduras during the wet season. It had been raining for ten hours straight. My feet slipped through the flooded hall of the small, adobe house.

“Feels like I’m swimming in lake Yojoa,” I thought.

“Ben,” Kristina, the mom of the house, called, “Venga.”

Dinner was ready. I joined the family at the kitchen table. Water incased its legs. Lenincito, my eleven year-old roommate, flopped his feet against the tile rhythmically.

“No Lenin!” Sarah, his sister, yelled, angry that her legs were soaked.

Kristina handed me a plate. On it laid two fresh baleadas and some slices of avocado.

“Gracias mamá!” I licked my lips. Kristina was famous for her baleadas.

This summer I found myself in Honduras for six weeks. When I first arrived in Siquatepeque, I asked myself the simple

Working on a cabana at SEBCAH seminary

question: “What on Earth am I doing in Honduras?”

Construction. That was the answer. I was the Construction Intern for Camino Global, a Christian mission organization.

There was only one problem: I knew nothing about construction. As a Writing Center Consultant, my fingers were used to holding pens and pencils, not hammers and screw drivers. Nevertheless, many blisters later, I learned that book readers can also be homebuilders.

But, I also learned that construction is like poetry.

In another book by L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time, Calvin O’Keefe describes the forms of sonnets. A Shakespearean sonnet is typically fourteen lines, following the rhyme scheme of:

a b a b

c d c d

e f e f

g g

Though these regulations seem to stint the creative process, they actually sustain it. Without form, a poem is like a painting deprived of a canvas. The paint starbursts everywhere, reaching the corners of the earth. Yet it spreads itself thin, revealing not a grand masterpiece, but a poor picture without centrality and reason.

In the same way, a house is comprised of necessary components. Without exact measurements and cuts, the walls collapse,

Spanish class in Siquatepeque, Honduras

the floors crack, and the home cannot function properly, which is to provide shelter for a living being.

In a great dance, disorder and order twirl hand in hand. The universe is a poem: from the hundreds of stipulations that hold the planets together in fragile gravitational pulls, to the millions of mysteries mankind doesn’t understand and may never understand, we find ourselves within the realms of black matter, where form and chaos battle, creating beauty.

Release Your Writing

If I’ve learned anything in my twenty-ish years, it’s that people care a lot about what other people think. Christian or not, having someone compliment you is an uplifting feeling. Whether we admit it or not, we all seek approval from someone for something. When I was young, the way other kids saw me mattered a lot­—to an unhealthy extent, actually. Now? Not so much. However, there is one area where I guard myself. This is a little embarrassing for me to admit, but I am absolutely worried about how other people view my writing.

When I write something, it’s like my child. I want to see it do well in the eyes of others; I want other people to like it. I like to think of myself as quite the prolific and creative writer. I write poetry, short stories, and even sermons. Of course, I write papers, as every student does. Even with those, I tend to be a little scared. After all, I put all of that hard work into my writing. To see my paper bleed, thanred penks to a teacher’s red spear, causes my heart to drop. I am worried about letting others see my writing—any of it—for fear of what they will think of it, and, transitively, what they will think of me.

Do you like metaphors? I do. So here’s a metaphor. You’re welcome.

I don’t have children, so this metaphor might be a little shaky, but I was a child once, so I think I have a bit of a grasp on this. Remember earlier when I mentioned my writing being like my kid? Let’s explore that a bit more. You’re hit in the middle of the night with inspiration for poetry or a short story and you immediately write it down. You spend the next few days, maybe even weeks, refining it until you feel like it is finished. It is your masterpiece. You look upon your work with pride, as a father does when he is proud of his son. However, here is where things get a bit different.

When I did something good as a kid, my dad would tell other people. His friends at church would hear about my amazing feats (I had a few!) and he did not care what they said. He was proud of his son. With my writing, I want to tell everyone about it, but I dwell on the “what ifs.” What if they don’t like it? What if there’s something wrong with it? I’ve found countless others like me. They’re terrified of what others will think of their writing, so they tend to shrink away from showing people.

But you know what?

We need to own our writing. So what if people don’t like it? What if one does and it really resonates with him or her? What if, because of what you wrote, they feel inspired and want to write now. My inspiration came from my sixth grade English teacher, Barbara Adams. She encouraged my writing and even made me write poetTypewriterry. I was terrified of sharing it, but she absolutely loved it. She wanted to share it with other people and that made me feel good. Yeah, there were some people that hated my first poem. They didn’t understand it, or they thought it was stupid, but because it resonated so much with my teacher, I felt inspired. In this crazy instance, my sharing of my writing inspired me.

I don’t know where I’d be without my love of writing. Definitely not at the Writing Center, that’s for sure. The steps to release your child into the world are extremely difficult, but they’re worth it. You can see it impact other people in different ways, but it is risky. I still have trouble releasing my writing into the public. I’m even terrified of blogging, but who knows? Maybe this will reach someone. Maybe what I wrote today will cause someone to overstep their fears and release their writing for the world to see. Don’t be afraid; be proud of your writing and let the world see it!

Written by Alfred

A Writing Center Poem


The pale desk
Scintillates in
The Bland lights
Which checker

The roof of an
Old schoolroom
Carpeted in
Gray and blue

Squares; coffee
Makers hum
With their
Colombian brew

A broken Clock
Ticks away
Its Hands
Refuse to move

Hours snore
Back and forth
Like waves
Breasting the shore

Red ink soils
A desperate
From a desperate

Student, whose
Sweat lingers
And swells
On the desk

A coffee ring
And unmodified
Stain page six

My mind moils
Is it time?
Not time?
Hark, I hear aloft:

The coffee maker
Beeps; Complete,
So I end
This long session