A former Enumclaw High student is releasing her first book of poetry this month.
Kelsey Webb, 19, didn’t plan on being a poet — it was something she got into during her freshman year at EHS.
“I really fell in love with it,” she said. “Ever since then, I’ve been buying poetry books and getting into it.”
But she knows that not everyone feels the same way about poetry, and that’s why she decided to write “Sapling: The Beginners Guide to the Art of Modern Poetry,” which aims to be both a book of and about the art of poetry.
“A lot of people say they don’t understand poetry. They’re not into it. It’s kind of a daunting subject for a lot of people, especially when they learn about it in school and had assignments on it — it’s just something they shy away from, I noticed,” Webb said. “I decided I could possibly help with that problem by making a poetry book with my poems, and then have a little annotation after every single poem that explains the symbolism, the rhyme scheme, the story behind the poem, and then maybe people will understand poetry a little bit more.”
Here’s a quick example of Webb’s works, titled “positività delle dimensioni della pianta” or “pint size positivity”:
he is whistling
and a silent audience is listening
paper airplane with alphabet passengers
drifting and waiting for drums to capture
i wonder if those notes cared
that they’re in an airplane chair,
or care that i can hear their clever callings
from these creative bathroom stall drawings.
i’ll replicate that airplane energy
and then they’d be so pleased with me.
if only i wasn’t so afraid to fall
i’d make a sound that stood out and tall.
like driving home at the days end
and receiving a soft wave from an old friend
a small conversation, a held open door
little things are what life is for.
Annotation: I wrote Pint Size Positivity based on a high school memory. When I got to school early, there was always someone whistling in the hallways. It would echo throughout the school as the sun rose, and the atmosphere in the building stood quiet, allowing his positivity to flood the morning. I imagined the musical notes travelling on a paper airplane, where each note has consciousness. I wondered if they were satisfied with their purpose of bringing noise to me. The person whistling gave me motivation to create my own selfless positivity.
“Sapling” covers a range of topics, from personal stories, beauty and the important of the natural world, young love, lust, and heartbreak, religion and spirituality, sexuality, domestic violence, miscarriage, mental health, death, and more.
“In a nutshell… it’s called [‘Sapling’] because I am 19, and so I write about my life all the way up until 19 years,” Webb said. “I’m really, really young, and I’m just trying to point out how much stuff happens in a kid’s mind, and how much potential there still is and how much I have to go.”
Unlike many books of poetry, “Sapling” is split into five different chapters, each bearing a theme relevant to Webb’s life. For example, the “Sun” chapter is “positive, uplifting poems to ease people into the mindset of reading poetry,” and “‘Roots’ is my childhood — growing up poems, anything that has made a really positive impact on who I am,” Webb continued.
Even though Webb is self-publishing this first book — emulating one of her poet icons, Rupi Kaur — that doesn’t mean she went at this project along; she found a lot of support in a local poetry group called the Unknown Poets Society (www.facebook.com/groups/356660771652550/), based out of Black Diamond.
“It’s an open mic, and there’s no critiquing. We just get to know each other through our writing. I’ve mades a lot of amazing connections and friends with it,” Webb said.
Normally, the group meets at various locations in the city during the second Tuesday of each month, but the pandemic has seen to a temporary pause to those activities.
However, the Unknown Poets Society is going through with hosting a poetry competition for aspiring poets in King County and beyond during these winter months.
To enter, participants must first join the Unknown Poets Society Facebook page and then email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
Entering the contest costs $5 per poem, and up to three poems can be submitted. The poems can be up to 40 lines, or two pages, long.
Checks can be sent to Lens&Pens Publishing at 16615 SE 311th St., Auburn, Wa 98092. The application fee can also be paid via Paypal (email@example.com) or Cashapp ($Rungu).
The winner of the competition will win an overnight stay at the Africa in Auburn — Writer’s Cottage, which is an African-styled treehouse complete with a bedroom and bathroom. You can learn more about the cottage at Airbnb.
Second and third place winners will win a $50 gift card.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Unknown Poets Society Facebook.
“Sapling” will be available starting Dec. 10 on Amazon and Kindle.