April 28, 2015
The Academy of American Poets
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901
New York, NY 10038
Dear Mr. Sze:
Hi, my name is Samantha, and I am a freshman in high school. I read your poem “The Chance” for homework one night that was assigned to us by our English teacher. I really enjoyed reading your poem, and talking about what we thought it meant in class. Your poem spoke to me like none of the other poems we read in class did.
I am not the best at understanding what poems mean, and what the poet is trying to write about. I think that you were writing about growing older and finding your passion when you write, “I want a passion that grows and grows. To feel, think, act, and be defined by your actions, thoughts, feelings.” And also how important it is to take chances when it comes to things you are passionate about. I don’t really know what I am passionate about. Sometimes it is hard, because everyone around me already knows what they want to do when they are older, and we are only 15 years old. My friends all have the things they are passionate about, and know what they want to end up doing. One of my friends is in love with music, and she is already talking about colleges that are the best for managing music groups. Another one of my friends knows that he wants to become a doctor, and is already thinking about where he wants to go to school. Another friend is in love with writing, and has actually started writing a book. I have read his work, and it is amazing. They all have the things they are passionate about, but I, on the other hand, don’t really have anything that I am in love with doing, and I don’t have any idea what I want to do when I’m older. You know when you are little and you have all of these dreams of what you want to do when you grow up? Well, I never really had any dreams of what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be when I was older.
Sometimes it is hard, because both of my parents are doctors, and they knew when they were young that that is exactly what they wanted to do. Ever since my mom was little she knew that she wanted to help people, and she was going to become a doctor to do just that. The same thing happened to my dad, and he knew that he wanted to become a doctor at a very young age. In your poem you write, “I want a passion that grows and grows. To feel, think, act, and be defined by your actions, thoughts, feelings.” That is exactly what I want. I want to wake up every morning happy, because I am doing what I love to do. Most people choose jobs because that is the job that makes the most money. Yes, I would like to make a nice living, but I also don’t want to be that person that absolutely hates her job, but does it just for the money.
Even my 11 year old brother knows what he wants to do when he is older. My parents keep asking me, “Have you figured out what you want to do yet?” I then say no, but that’s ok because I am only 14, and I have a lot of time to figure that out. But how much time do I actually have left? This year has gone by so quickly, and I can’t even imagine how quickly the next four years are going to fly by. But I am lucky, because my parents aren’t the type to force my brothers and me into careers; they are letting us decide what we want to do. My older brother wants to become a director and go into the film industry. My dad isn’t thrilled with that idea, because he doesn’t think that directing is a stable job. But my mom said that she will support us, if we are doing the things that we love, and filming is the thing that my brother loves to do.
After reading your poem, it got me thinking about time, and even about your life, and I just have a couple of questions for you. Is writing poetry something that you have always loved to do? There is usually a person that introduced you to the thing you are passionate about. Who was the person that introduced you to poetry? In your poem you wrote, “And as I approach thirty, the distances are shorter than I guess? The mind travels at the speed of light.” Did it take you a while to finally find the thing that you were passionate about? You wrote about the mind traveling at the speed of light. Did time fly by for you? And finally, what inspired you to write this poem?
I have no idea what I am going to do when I am older, but I like to think that since I am 14, I have plenty of time to find out. I want to find something that I love so much, and make a career out of it, like you probably did. I really loved reading your poem and wish to read more. I hope to find more poems that spoke to me, the ways yours did.
All my best,