Entering the world of poetry


Faith Lee, Feature Writer

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter. As rain hits the roof and the concrete, a young poet sits and writes to the soft, smooth rhythm it gives.

This young poet is H-F senior, Benjamin Eng. Eng has published two poems, Broken Together and Wide Awake, on Teen Ink Online Magazine this year.

He was first introduced to poetry during a unit in 8th grade and enjoyed it, but never really pursued writing. Eng’s interest in poetry sparked again junior year when he began taking a creative writing class.

Creative writing teacher, Sahar Mustafah has taught Eng for two years and has gotten to know him, his content, and his writing style.

“[Ben’s] writing really gave me a strong impression of his creativity and the things that were on his mind that he would eventually vocalize through his writing,” Mustafah said.

Eng writes what is on his mind and his honest feelings. He writes about how to find identity and uses his poetry to get people thinking.

Both of Eng’s pieces reflect on past experiences that had a negative impact on his life. In Broken Together and Wide Awake, he explains how everyone goes through tragic life experiences but, one day, things will get better.

“When people read my poetry, I want them to reflect on themselves and question what they think about their personality,” Eng said. “I want people to step back and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and like what they see.”

Even though Eng writes pieces that others can relate to, he admits that it is scary to publish his personal thoughts and feelings to peers and classmates.

“Honestly, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done,” he said. “Some people are nice and receptive to what I have to say, but I was scared of the judgement of those people that wouldn’t like what I had to say.”

Senior Laila Malak is a long time friend and fellow classmate of Eng. She loves his poetry because it makes her feel encouraged and like she has someone to relate to. Also, his pieces make her reflect on herself and think of ways that his poems apply to her life.

“Ben writes with such integrity, creativity, and honesty. The colorful language and literary devices in [the pieces] make them interesting and fun to read,” Malak said.

Eng gained more confidence during his junior year and now that he’s a senior, it has doubled. He wanted to make an impact on the school and thought that publishing his poems was the perfect way to achieve that.

“When Ms. Mustafah first told me about Teen Ink, I never thought I could get published on their website, but this year, I just felt it was now or never,” Eng said. “When I submitted the poems, I thought they weren’t going to get published, but they did and now, I can’t stop writing.”

Eng has so much to say about the state of the mind and body and hopes his poems inspire people to talk about the not so talked about topics like traumatic family situations, verbal abuse and self-esteem issues.

He also has more secretive, upcoming pieces he is writing now. Eng is very excited for these new projects and hopes to publish these and many more in the near future.