By: Jyllian Roach, Editor-In-Chief
Not For the Faint of Heart
The Creative Writing: Poetry class may be designed to help beginning and advanced poets refine their craft, but what the class really does is help those who take it become better writers and learners overall, said full-time CHSS instructor Felecia Caton-Garcia.
The class, which currently has openings for a few more students, gives students the opportunity to learn the many forms of poetry while also learning to express themselves in a way that will impact their writing on a whole, she said.
“I think that all arts are useful to helping other arts. Study something, and it will make you better at whatever else you do,” said Caton- Garcia. “I think that pushing yourself into new ways of understanding, responding to and using language is always going to both deepen and broaden your ability to write in any situation.”
Liberal Arts major Joaquin Johnson Y Lucero said he has taken two classes with Caton-Garcia, including the poetry class.
“She’s an amazing instructor. She gives a lot of herself to her students. Specifically in the poetry class, she helps to open people’s minds. People come into that class thinking it’ll be an easy A or a slack class, but she really pushes people to find something greater in themselves,” he said.
The classroom became like a small community for Johnson Y Lucero, he said. While receiving critiques is normally a gut-wrenching process, it was fun and helpful to hear what classmates had to say about his work, he said.
“Having the feedback from the other students and Felecia; they might see something that you wrote in an entirely different light than where you were you intending it to come from. I think it’s very helpful,” said Johnson Y Lucero.
Caton-Garcia, who is also a published poet and author, said that what she finds most interesting about poetry is the freedom that poets have to write without the pressure found in other writing styles.
“While all the other writers are freaking out about people not reading anymore, poets aren’t because poets don’t make any money. We’re completely un-impacted by the economy. Nobody expects to make money off of poetry. And while that is certainly sad, on the other hand it’s really liberating in a consumer culture. We’re not tied to the dictates of the market — there is no market,” said Caton-Garcia.
It may not be a required class for any degree, but Caton-Garcia said it is a class that will make a difference in the way a person writes and communicates.
“I’m a firm believer in the liberal arts; that people need to be thinking about school always as a place where they become more critical and creative beings. A class should do what this class does — offer students the opportunity to think incredibly hard and to try to access those parts of themselves that they tend not to talk about,” said Caton-Garcia.
Johnson Y Lucero said that the class definitely made him think hard, which was important to him. He said that the class made him open up and pay attention to how he was writing.
“It forces you to write in a way you wouldn’t normally. It brings something out that you normally wouldn’t see or find or seek,” said Johnson Y Lucero.
He said that he recommends the poetry class to any student who wants to learn about self-expression, writing or communication. He said Caton- Garcia is an incredible instructor.
“I recommend taking any class with Felecia — she’s an amazing person. She’ll definitely push you,” he said.
The Creative Writing Poetry class meets every Wednesday evening in the Michael J. Glennon building at the Westside campus from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. There are ten spots available as of this printing. The class’ CRN is 77105.
“Poetry is not for cowards. You have to be impeccably honest with yourself if you want to write good poetry. If you’re willing to be brave, it’s a great class to take,” said Caton-Garcia.
Drought | By: Felicia Caton-Garcia
Try to remember: things go wrong in spite of it all.
I listen to our daughters singing in the crackling rows
of corn and wonder why I don’t love them more.
They move like dark birds, small mouths open
to the sky and hungry. All afternoon I listen
to the highway and watch clouds push down over the hills.
I remember your legs, heavy with sleep, lying across mine.
I remember when the world was transparent, trembling, all
shattering light. I had to grit my teeth against its brilliance.
It was nothing like this stillness that makes it difficult
to lift my eyes. When I finally do, I see you
carrying the girls over the sharp stones of the creek bed.
When they pull at my clothes and lean against my arms,
I don’t know what to do and do nothing.