Guest speaker visits Jefferson Poets

Aryan Rajput, Staff Writer

On Friday, April 16, Jefferson Poets hosted poet Sandra Beasley, who spoke about her work. Beasley is a Jefferson alum from the class of 1998, and went on to publish multiple collections of poetry and a memoir. 

Beasley read excerpts from her poem collections, explaining the thought process and inspiration behind them. One particular poem she read was Cherry Tomatoes, from her collection Theories of Falling. 

“[Cherry Tomatoes] came from a writing prompt, where we were expected to write an ode to objects from the natural world,” Beasley said. “I had to ask myself why I had a negative attitude towards a totally harmless fruit, and it made me think about the ways we inherit our likes and our dislikes, often from our family.” 

Beasley elaborated further on themes in her collections. Different books, and even different poems, have different focuses. 

“It’s almost impossible to ask a poet ‘What is your book about?’, because we are constantly reinventing,” Beasley said. “I’m changing what a book is about every page, and for I Was The Jukebox, in particular I was drawn to writing about animals, and Greek mythology, and history, and in unconventional voices.” 

Beasley also walked listeners through her writing process, starting with the very first draft. She continued to show changes throughout her drafts to the final poem, interacting with students and pointing out revisions. 

“One of the toughest parts of revision is learning to embrace the possibilities of having to completely remake something that you have spent time on drafting in the first place,” Beasley said. “We all become very quickly loyal to our drafts, to the work we have put in them, to the emotion and energy we see behind them, and because of that, we are very quick to want to move to a fixing energy… versus a radical attitude.”

Aspiring Jefferson poets found value in Beasley’s experiences, looking to apply the same techniques to their work.  

“It’s so nice to see someone sharing drafts because you only ever see finished products and you never know how to get there,” senior Molly Barron said. “It’s really helpful to know how to get through that process, especially when it’s so difficult to get from one end to the other.”

You can follow Beasley’s work at