Mr. Khaled Mattawa,

I hope you are doing well. My name is Theo and I’m a sophomore in high school. For an English class writing assignment, I was instructed to listen and/or read the poems listed on the Academy of American Poets website. As I was scrolling through the pieces and listening to them, your poem, Mr. Mattawa, caught my eye.

Ecclesiastes,” right off the bat, intrigued me because of its name; I’ve never heard anything like it. After searching around on the internet, I learned that it was a book of the Hebrew Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament. As someone who doesn’t follow Judaism or Christianity, I was curious as to what it entailed. Your poem indeed relates to this text, for it follows a common theme. The line, “The rule is their parents were foolish, their children are greedy or insane.” and two lines after share the idea that man can be greedy and want too much, much like what is said in the religious texts. Later in the poem, however, your words turn compassionate. Also, the relationship of the trick and the rule follows this theme as well. The rule tends to be a selfish thought or deed, but it is balanced by the trick, which tends to be selfless and friendly.

So, I have a few questions. Do you follow a religion? If so, what inspired you to write this poem and name it so? Did you have an experience that led you to write? Finally, Have you always enjoyed writing? I would love to hear back from you!

Thank you, Mr. Mattawa, for taking the time to read my letter.

Theo Hiroto Won
Grade 10

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