I was a bit intimidated when I first went to meet UP junior (Environmental studies major and English minor) Aurora Meyers, on a typical rainy Portland day. She had been published, and I was interviewing someone for the first time. But when we started talking she instantly set me at ease with her kind, sweet and inspiring personality. And as we talked, she told me about her writing journey and how she came to have three published poems in two very good literary magazines.
I first asked Aurora about when she started writing. She told me she started at a very young age and wrote about everything from church to brushing her teeth. Yet, it wasn’t until seventh grade, when a teacher made a comment on her paper saying she was a really good writer, that she saw herself that way. In high school, she started getting into lyrical poetry, focusing on its spoken-out-loud qualities.
Before we met, I had read the first poem she published, “Aquatic Annelid”, so I had to ask what influenced her to write it and if it possibly had to do anything with her environmental studies major. Apparently, I was right—she told me she wrote it as she was studying about aquatic life for Biology, and it happened to be “whatever was on my mind…cramming for tests.”
Aurora also took Poetry Workshop with Dr. Asarnow. Through his class she “got to …experience poetry, in the way I know it today.” Aurora says the class also helped her gain the confidence to put her poetry out there for publication. As she put it:
“I don’t think I would have gotten the courage to submit my work…if it weren’t for [Asarnow’s] encouragement and help and support. Taking his class was a really good experience not in terms of just writing poetry but also in learning to share personal things with other people and being able to hear other people share their thoughts, and collaborating with one another to give feedback in a constructive and also…a compassionate way.”
Next I wondered if Aurora would continue writing or would do something more in the field of Environmental Ethics; she replied:
“Down the road, I always see writing and publishing as something that’s an option. I edited a little bit for the Writer’s magazine for UP my freshman year. Then I also helped out with the Tin House Literary Journal as a submissions reader. So, I see being involved in that literary sphere as something I will always do like a hobby, regardless of what I end up doing for my day job”.
Aurora is such an inspiring person, that I had to ask if she had any advice for aspiring writers who want to be published. She gave me three things for writers to do:
“1. Don’t be afraid to share your work
2. Don’t be afraid to fall, take that risk
3. Take time and create a space to write and create even if what you are writing is not for submission.”
Aurora followed her own advice and now has three poems coming out in two literary magazines. Two of her poems “A Boston Wedding” and “Sculpting” will be coming out in Spires Magazine (Spring 2014). The third poem, “Aquatic Annelid” will be published in the Painted Bride Quarterly. Keep checking these sites for their new issues, and read a UP writer in print!