For the second year in a row, English teacher Spencer Fetrow instructed his students to write letters to award-winning poets for the Dear Poet contest. The contest, which is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, invites students in grades five through twelve to participate by penning letters to poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors. Hari Narayanam ’21 decided to write to Forrest Gander because he develops a different understanding and feeling about the event that occurs each time he reads Forrest’s Passion & Risk.
In his letter Hari wrote, “The poem you have written, Passion & Risk, interests me monumentally. Every single time I read through it, I develop a different understanding and feeling about the event that occurs. In one instance, I perceive the poem as a gruesome, gory, and horrifying moment to think about. However, in another instance, I think of the poem as a story of a brave bullfighter proving himself as a warrior in front of a grand audience. In your poem, there is a sense of space left for interpretation which I admire greatly.”
“I’m thrilled that Hari’s letter was selected for publication,” said Spencer. “This helps students realize that their opinions matter and members of the literary community are interested in what they have to say.”
Hari’s letter, along with Forrest’s response, will appear on www.poets.org in the summer.