Pen, paper and poetry outside the school walls


Kennedy Ray

Poet Victor Arroyo (11) works on a new piece of writing in the library after school.

“Write a poem with at least 20 lines. Use whatever rhyming pattern you want, but make sure to use iambic pentameter, three examples of alliteration, three examples of assonance, and sprinkle in a metaphor or two for extra credit.” These are typical instructions for a class-assigned poem. Many students will do the assignment and think nothing more of it, but there are some students like Victor Arroyo (11) who devote their free time to writing poetry.

Arroyo’s interest in writing poetry was sparked by Lupe Fiasco’s 2007 album, The Coolest.

“After listening to his album, The Coolest, and hearing the way  [Fiasco] used the words to use two different meanings at the same time, it kind of inspired me to do that on my own, and I’ve been gaining more and more inspirations from the artists of today,” Arroyo said.

Beginning to write on his own in the sixth grade, Arroyo believes poetry has helped him through his hardships.

“Middle school came along, and with that came the transition of going from pretty much, like, being coddled as a baby to having more independence, and that kind of led to problems with me… I used poetry as a way to express myself and still be allowed to focus on what I needed to do,” he said.

Arroyo’s writing technique can be described as unique as he likens writing his poetry to music, and  creates a slow, steady stream of thoughts. To those looking to starting creating on their own he offers some advice.

“It doesn’t have to be good. Stop searching for excellence. It’ll come on its own. Search for where you’ll have the most trouble. Over time, you might find your style, and you’ll be able to do it,” he said.

Poetry has definitely done its healing for Victor Arroyo, and he strongly believes it can do the same for other high schoolers. He is up to the challenge of healing others through his own poetry.

“I believe that by using my own self-courage or full-heartedness or whatever you wanna call it, I would speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I don’t know if I’ve reached that level yet, but I hope so,” Arroyo said.

Library of Congress: National Student Poets in the News

LA Times Student Poet Feature

KUOW Student Poet Reflection