October 9, 2017
By Julia Lee
My name is Julia Lee. I am a poet and I know it. Since second grade, as soon as I could string sentences together, I have loved to write. I was a secret poet for several years, scrawling out short couplets and tucking them between books on the shelves of our library, hoping someone would read them.
But until my junior year in high school, I had never performed a poem in front of an audience. So, I jumped at the chance to join the poetry workshop Aspen Words was holding at our high school, and soon met teaching artist Logan Phillips from Arizona. He was full of vigor, poise, and creativity, spinning images of oases, grass dancing in the highway medians, a land and a people thirsting for water and recognition. I wanted that freedom, that command over ideas and hope.
To my surprise, I was picked to tour middle schools, and then to perform in front of hundreds of people at the valley-wide poetry slam that month. There is nothing like standing in front of all those people, in all that light, and proclaiming your truth. It took as much determination as an ant not to shake in my boots, but once I did it, it was like flying.
Aspen Words gave me the gift of language. A command over language is a command over life, the ability to capture the human experience, the ability to grab injustice by the throat.
With each new slam, and each new brave poet I met through Aspen Words, I was reminded of just how important this work is.
Please help Aspen Words inspire more writers like me by making a donation today. Your support helps perpetuate a culture of truth through poetry and the literary arts.
Julia Lee graduated from Roaring Fork High School (Carbondale, CO) in 2017. She is currently a Freshman at Stanford University.
This post was written by Caroline Tory