April 25, 2015

Dear Ms. Shihab Nye,

I am writing to you today for my creative writing class. We were given the opportunity to choose from many poets to write a letter to. Out of every piece I had read or listen to your poem "How Do I Know When a Poem Is Finished?" truly spoke to me. In the beginning of your video on the Poets.org website you said that the reason for writing this piece was to answer a question that students often ask. But the reason I liked this so much was because I feel as if this applies to a lot more then just when a poem is finished. I thought to myself “what if I were to just change the title? Would it still make sense”? I learned that your metaphor of the room doesn't just have to be thought of as when a poem is finished, but when any form of art is finished. Whether it is a painting or a song a person is writing, there is still room to improve or alter a line to your new feeling to a topic.

With that, I have a few questions I would like to ask. As a writer that feels that a piece of work can be changed and improved upon endlessly before it can be finished; do you personally go back and change your own work a lot? I often do this, but then I feel my work becomes repetitive and same sounding. Which brings me to my next question. As a writer what are your favorite ways or places to find inspiration to produce new pieces? Being a dependent high school student that has not really left my small town, I feel like after a while everything just falls into a norm. This can make finding new inspirations hard and I feel as if I am only writing about a few topics.

Thank you for this opportunity to maybe get a few questions answered, also thank you for introducing such a beautifully written poem into this world.


Grade 10
Howell, MI

dear poet letters