Alison Luterman is a well known poet and dramatist from the Bay Area. She has published award winning books and plays. She often contributes for the Sun magazine. Alison has been a popular teacher around the country.
When a student poet honors me by trusting me with their words, thoughts and feelings, I respond to them, not as an adult to a kid, but as a working writer to another working writer. If they are willing to put themselves on the line, then they have earned that respect from me. And the truth is, we are all in this together. Just like a student, I have to find the time, space, and courage to write my truth. I have to scribble it down (usually curled on the couch, fighting off my kitten who wants to chase my pen), and then I have to transfer it to my laptop. I have to look at it again in the cold light of reason a week later, and edit and rearrange and play with the line-breaks, and deepen it until I get the verses to sing what I mean. I have to find books and people and places that will inspire me, that will “turn on the flow.” When I work with a student, I ask him or her what gets their creativity going. I encourage them to follow their heart, their gut, and to consider the possibilities all around them. I love hearing about what delights and pains them. No two of us write alike. No two of us experience love, or nature, or a long winter in exactly the same way. I love seeing how sophisticated students quickly become in their use of language, metaphor, and imaginative leaps. I say it and I mean it: you-all are much more advanced than I was at your age. I can’t wait to watch you unfold your awesomeness upon the world!