[Featured photo is a piece of art created by Nia Rich herself]
12th grader Nia Rich is a student poet, is the winner of the local poetry recitation competition known as “Poetry Out Loud,” and a writer at Ukiah High. UHS News interviewed Rich, asking her about her experience with poetry, why she developed a love for poetry, and to what extent Ukiah High School helped foster that interest.
Rich told us,“I’ve always written poetry since I was a kid, but I really got into it in middle school because my middle school honors English class had a poetry section in the syllabus.”
When asked if Ukiah High School helped foster this skill Rich praised the Creative writing program stating ,“I’ve taken creative writing all four years of high school.”
She praised English teachers Mr. Michael Riedell and Mr. Kyle Kirkley helped her better understand and develop her poetic ability, be it through basic English and creative writing courses.
Rich discussed how poetry both helped her get through hard times and provided her a pleasurable pastime. “It’s definitely a coping method, 90% coping and the rest is fun and lighthearted. I just go and hope something good comes out of it,” she told us.
Rich celebrated the catharsis of writing:“I always use poetry to vent, if I have an influx of emotions I just expel them onto the paper and wish for the best”
Rich expanded on the value poetry held to her, saying it has both“an emotional value, and a sentimental value”
For Rich, poetry provides her a window into her growth as a writer and an individual, “I can look back at it and say that’s where my life was at the time. While I can also Look at my old creative writing notebooks and see how I have improved”
When asked about her future career, Rich stated that poetry was only a small part of her interest in creative writing, “I’d love to be a musical writer, a composer, playwright and performer.”
However she added that in order to stay financially secure and realistic she plans to major in multiple fields and keep writing as more of a hobby until it takes off. She stated, “While I love poetry I’m definitely not going to major in it but I plan to either double major or focus on my career and keep writing as a hobby, one which will hopefully take off.”
Rich also gave her thoughts as to whether or not Ukiah High School could expand its literature and poetry program to better encourage students to explore their interest in poetry.
“I feel like a poetry analysis class could be a good thing, while you analyse poetry in AP-Literature not every kid wants to take AP classes, and creative writing is great but also expansive and there is more then enough poetry out there to facilitate a year long analysis course. so it would be cool if there was a specialised poetry analysis class.”
For anyone nervous to dip their toes in the poetry pool, Rich encouraged, “I say just try it, because it’s not going to be good at first but you can’t know if you like it unless you try it.”
Finally, a sampling of Nia Rich’s poetry in her poem Losing Time and My Mind:
It’s so confusing, I cannot lie
Losing time stuck in my mind,
Folks just trying to get by,
They’re not sly unless they’re shy
Quiet, or just biding time
Until they can go hide and cry
Why, why try, why try to hide
The fragments of my tired mind
Whether older guy or stubborn child
Feeling bold or meek and mild
People with such different styles
Try to hide while all the while
Losing time, their minds, they smiles
So why, why try, why try to hide
The fragments of my tired mind
Just different people, we all cry
To be seen, with knowing eyes
By someone who would truly true
To know us. Well. As many minds.