Dear Chancellor Alberto Ríos,

My name is Diana, and I am a sophomore. In my English class we were assigned a project where we had to listen to and write about poetry from the Dear Poet project. I was scrolling and scrolling through all of the poetry full of dread, because, honestly, poetry was the last thing I wanted to read after a long day at school. It was only until I came across your poem “Refugio’s Hair” that I truly started to find light in this situation. I found myself not only liking the poem the first time around, but I began to love it more and more the longer I would listen to it and/or read it.

To begin, this poem was very emotional and complex, allowing me to view many different aspects and to different degrees. This poem allowed me to form a connection to the main character even though it would seem that we had nothing in common other than our long hair. Specifically, I saw her hair being chopped off and dreamt about as symbolism for a memory that was once a part of her, that she loved and is now gone due to a traumatic event, but still haunts you. Although it may not relate to everyone, personally this reminded me of hardships in my life that I have had to go through, which only made me love the poem more. Not only did this poem allow me to see through the life of your grandmother but it also allowed for me to interpret about the life of the baby Pirrín, who seemed to have no choice and was put into a dangerous situation. It also allows you to see Carlos as not only a villain, forcing your grandmother to go on the horse bareback, but as someone who wants to make a change and benefit her although it may be hard.

I was wondering quite a few things about you personally and your writing. How do you manage to find inspiration? What is the purpose of your writing or is there none? Did you have any other intentions other than writing for yourself? Were you just writing for the sake of telling the story or did you have a different motive?

Thank you for reading my letter. I was genuinely impacted by your poem, and I want to thank you for writing it. You inspired me to be more involved in poetry and give other aspects of writing a chance even if I had negative feelings toward them previously. This poem was the first poem to affect me emotionally, mentally, and physically, not only making me make connections from one point of the poem to another but also to current real life issues. I hope to hear from you soon.


Grade 10
Morristown, NJ

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