Kent Creates looking for more artists

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter

One of the nations leading poets came to America as a refugee and was not able to speak English at all.

Today, Claudia Castro Luna is Washington states 2018-2020 Poet Laureate.

As part of National Poetry Month, Highline invited Luna to come to campus and speak about her work.

At the age of 14, Luna escaped from El Salvador with her family in the middle of a war. Life then was extremely violent with many deaths every day.

"Learning English was so difficult," Luna said. But, it was all worth it in the end. Luna is now one of the leading poets in the United States.

As the laureate, Luna goes around to various schools to talk about writing.

She promotes and helps young students in order for them to improve their writing and have a voice in the world.

"Writing is a process, and it just doesn't come together on the first draft," Luna said. "I have always been inspired by works in progress," Luna said.

"I keep every little piece of writing and go over them, no matter how old those ideas are," she said. A technique Luna uses in order to remember everything is writing it down.

"If I don't write them down, I won't remember," she said.  Luna kept a dream journal in college.

"Dreams are [also] a rich source for me, for my poems," Luna said.

"I did not choose to be a poet, it chose me," Luna said.

When she first started, Luna wrote a poem for her mother on her birthday. Unfortunately, it was not well-received.  

"Writing takes strength and courage. That it is why I am no longer afraid of people not understanding me," Luna said. 

"Share your work with people who you can trust, who will build you," Luna said. 

Inspirations can come from all around us. But one huge source of inspiration is other people`s stories, she said.

"[It] is important to me to hear stories from others," Luna said. 

She read excerpts from Evening Bandit, Farmer's Market, This City, More Daunting Still, and from her latest book Killing Marias. 

In Killing Marias, Luna uses vivid descriptons and simplistic language to talk about the femicide that happened to the women in Juarez. 

"The stories are physical recreations of the women's bodies and spirit," Luna said.

The poems do not represent the horror that transpired, but rather the strength of the woman who went through those horrible times.

In each poem, Luna highlights different Marias and their stories.

"How do we represent female bodies?" Luna said.

"Write in a way that shows the respect that you are looking for," she said.

Luna was the last of the poets to come to Highline for National Poetry Month. 

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