When it seemed impossible to express herself at home, communication and leadership freshman Kimberly Lee found her voice in poetry. With the encouragement of her friends, Lee published her first book.
Lee turned her book “In Which I Beg You to Listen.” Some of its poems are inspired by the author’s real life experiences, while others are pure fiction.
Lee said she started writing short stories and prose at a young age, but it was not until middle school that she began to write poetry. She said she was forced to learn poetry, but ended up loving it.
Poetry became important to Lee because it served as an emotional outlet. She said because she comes from a family of South Korean immigrants, it is unusual to talk about emotions at home.
“I didn’t feel comfortable saying what I thought in common language,” Lee said. “I felt more comfortable using a ton of metaphors and symbols.”
Drake Leach, a musical theatre freshman at George Mason University, said what sets Lee’s poetry apart from other works is the direct language and weight of the metaphors and symbols. Leach said his favorite poem of hers is about a chess board.
“(Her poetry) used very metaphysical imagery and very tangible things you could hold on to,” Leach said. “You could think about the chess board, or the different pieces and draw your own emotional conclusions from the way she was using them.”
Elise Little, a junior at Chaparral Star Academy, said she admires the way Lee does not mask the truth of the poem under flowery language, but lets the true emotions be the beauty of it. She said this is why it is easy for people to relate to Lee’s poems.
Lee said she does not sit down with the intention to write a poem — they simply come to her in pieces throughout the day.
“I’ll be eating food and then one sentence will pop into my brain and I’ll have to write it down quickly,” Lee said. “Then I’ll build a poem around that phrase.”
Lee would not have discovered her love for writing poetry without learning about it in school. She said sometimes when poetry is taught, it focuses on the history and structure of poetry as opposed to the freedom of it.
“I think people have this misconception that poetry is this Shakespearean old art and a lot of people don’t look at modern poetry, which really has no rules, which is the best thing about poetry,” Lee said.
Lee said it is important for people to learn poetry, and especially to know that it is a free form of writing because that is what sets it apart.
“The way poetry is written has this quality where you understand what the person is saying even if they aren’t necessarily outright saying it,” Lee said. “You can relate to what the author is feeling without even realizing that you related.”
Lee is currently working on an interactive poetry book where she writes some of the poem and leaves blanks for the reader to fill in. She said it is for people who want to write poetry, but don’t know how to get started.