Dear Mr Herrera,

At the moment, I am a high school student. I was introduced to poetry at a young age. My father can be credited with first exposing me to poetry. He would (and still does) listen to poetry often. My father rarely however listens to poetry in English he listens to poetry mainly in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. In English expressing yourself is a difficult task as there are many fewer words as compared to Urdu in which one can freely express himself with the use of many different words to properly express his exact description in the poem. At a young age it was difficult for me to speak English as my family would communicate with me in Urdu thus I too would enjoy listening to legendary poets such as Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib, and Rumi. These poems would later become a much bigger part of my life than just a few songs to listen to. Now knowing English fluently, I still to listen to Urdu poetry, however I also listen to the occasional English poetry. Often times Urdu poetry carries a lesson or a much deeper meaning in the poem as is the style of poetry in Pakistan. Said lessons have been applied to my life multiple times, through times of hardship and ease. These poems have taught me many life lessons that I would not have acquired otherwise. Upon reading your poem, “You Can’t Put Muhammad Ali in a Poem” I felt as if I could also learn something from your poem. The deeper meaning of your poem struck me just as my Urdu poems had. It taught me a lesson of standing for what I believe in just like Muhammad Ali to the point where you can’t put him in a poem. Your poem not only taught me new lessons but made me remember previous lessons and memories I shared with my father listening to poetry. “You Can’t Put Muhammad Ali in a Poem” reminded me that poetry in English can also teach lessons as I am used to learning in Urdu poetry. Your poem has also inspired me to start to write my own poetry in Udru and English. Many thanks, Mr. Herrera, for your poetry and the impact it has had on me!


Milwaukee, WI 

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