Dear Mr. Doty,

My name is Madeline. I am 14 years old and I am a freshman in high school. For an assignment in English, we had to pick a poet and listen to them read their poems aloud. I listened to all of the choices and in the end found your reading to be the one I enjoyed the most. I liked listening to you reading “Brian Age Seven.” I listened several times, as Brian became more alive and animated each time I replayed the video.

I thought immediately of all the self-portraits I had drawn when I was younger. In listening to your work, the entire experience is so alive and active in my mind. I can picture all of these children’s drawings taped to the glass window. And I can absolutely see how Brian’s picture stands out and makes you feel happy inside. I know it is more than the ice cream cone and the big smile that brings humanness to this stick figure.

I think it was interesting the way all of the poets had videos of themselves reading their work. It was a different way to understand poetry. Usually, I have to read and analyze a poem. Of course, my teachers have also read poems aloud to the class. I really liked being able to listen, over to over, to you read your poem. What I found compelling about your work was that while there was no “rules” in each stanza there was a pattern. And while stanza two did have words that rhymed, the entire poem had a beat or a rhythm to it that I enjoyed more because you recited to me.

Thank you for showing me a different way to enjoy poetry.


Grade 9
Smithtown, NY

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