I wrote my first poem at the age of 11, and have recorded every poem that I composed since then, adding to the list of verse regularly. This discipline initially came from my love of poetry, but later it was derived from the belief that I should not squander my gift for poetry writing. My writing has developed into several styles through my 17 years as a poet, yet a few attributes have remained salient: mysticism expressed by surrealistic imagery, an emphasis on sound more than meaning, and eccentric enjambment.
My journey from being a 11-year old self-proclaimed poet to a widely published author was stringed together by doubts, ambition, and diligence. Like most parents in the US when witnessing their child’s interest in the creative arts, my mother was fairly concerned that I was going to turn out to be a starving artist, like my father. My father no doubt had a significant influence on me, as he was a published poet as well. He was a zen monk who was one of the leaders of haiku written in English in the Northwest of the US, being the editor of the first haiku journal in the Northwest region. As his life carried on into his later years, he gave up his work as a manager of a refugee council and lead a life of an artist. This abandonment of duties not only put a strain on my mother, but on me as a future poet.
My family, having been through the ordeal of my so-called irresponsible father, warned me continually about my choice of being a poet. The common refrain was that I would not make enough money, I would never be published, and that it would lead to depression. While these concerns are not entirely unfounded, they did not dissuade me from being who I was and who I desired to be.
Besides my family, my friends and schoolmates at Edmonds-Woodway High School often passed remarks about the act of writing poetry as being too feminine. Being a young man in high school, the last idea I wanted to get across to others was that I was not tough enough. During those student years, I hid my passion for poetry from others in fear that I would be criticized or even publicly humiliated.
Directly after my high school years, I had a dramatic turning point. My father passed away from a sudden diabetic fit on New Years Eve with the Diamond Sūtra by his bedside and a smile on his face. His death made me delve into poetry to a greater extent and I found respite in it from my mourning. Not long after my father’s passing, another pivot appeared in my timeline. I was invited to stay in a communal house of people who meditated. I woke up after a day of unloading bags and boxes, and began to write poems. At the end of the day, I had written five poems seemingly without effort. I decided that I could not skip out on this opportunity to engage in such inspiration, so I have lived in communal living with a meditation group up until now–writing and editing poems nearly every day.
After writing at such a fast rate for almost a year, I knew I had to publish my work in order to feel fulfilled. For me, my poems remaining in a digital folder on my computer was not the ideal place for them. I began sending my poems out to publications, with gradually improved results. Each year of my publishing career, I had a decreased rate of rejection. As of now, I have 27 poems published in books, magazines, journals, and newspapers.
Many of these poems were written during my stay at The Evergreen State College and Seattle University. At The Evergreen State College, where I received my B.A. in Writing, nearly all my courses related to writing. I even garnered a contract from the college to write a book of poems in three months. I did so successfully, with my supervising professor, Renald Hays, commenting that he thought I would be a famous writer. During my tenure at Seattle University, where I earned a certificate in teaching English as a second language, I continued to write and edit poems almost daily. At present, I have written three chapbooks and three full-length collections of poetry, in addition to two novels and a chapbook of essays.
After writing nine manuscripts, the only step in my career as a writer that I can see is attending a master’s program for creative writing. The Iowa State University is my prime choice to expand my knowledge of poetry, as it is natural for any American poet. I do not need to tell the review staff of your institution’s celebrated history, world-class courses, and esteemed faculty. I would rather speak about how I see myself within the atmosphere of the campus and its promise of greater achievement in poetics.
I look forward to attending the poetry workshops attended by famous poets and talented students that can discern what needs to be improved in individual poems and in my practice as a poet as a whole. As any true poet, I am also a lover of poetry books; your campus has the largest poetry book collection in all the U.S.–I hope to take full advantage of its resources. If I am accepted in the program, I am planning to live in the dormitories on campus, where I can get to know other poets of national talent and converse about my passion. I am a rather gregarious person–I love to learn from others and listen to their thoughts on what makes a poem great rather than mediocre.
I have been dedicated to poetry through societal, familial, and personal ridicule. Poetry itself has enlivened me to cross obstacles and keep up the practice of writing and editing. Now, I want to give back to my poems and have them reach a wider audience–to honor them in the joy they have provided me with. In order to achieve this, I must be engaged in an advanced course of tutelage such as the Iowa State University’s Creative Writing Master’s Degree Program. Without this intervention, I cannot dream to attain what I desire for my poems.