Poland finds voice through poetry
Cushing — Luke Poland has written poetry since graduating high school but didn't share his work until years later because, he said, courage is a hard thing to learn.
Poland works on a wharf in Cushing but moonlights as a poet. "When I'm here, I'm the wharf worker I have to be and my mind is here," he said.
In high school, Poland said he barely took a creative writing course. "I think I failed it," he said. He finds his struggle with English comical now. "I was out of school before I realized I could write," he said. "Punctuation and spelling be damned, I was going to do it anyway."
Besides Shakespeare, other writers don't encourage or garner admiration from him, admitting he doesn't often read poetry. Poland finds inspiration through the dictionary. "I've actually written poems on a word, and that's been interesting," he said.
"A lot of my pieces have been built since the day I was born. They were in construction and took a lifetime to make," he said, adding that writing gave him a way to express himself.
Writing is cathartic for Poland. His work focuses on themes of child abuse and "darker sides of humanity," bringing it to the surface. He follows no particular pattern or ritual, allowing his writing to build around intangible emotions or feelings. "I would like to think it would help people, being able to see this is a real feeling other people have and showing ways to overcome it."
Poland doesn't write down ideas as they come. But when an idea is developed, it needs to be written. "It either comes or it doesn't, which I like, like it was meant to be," he said.
"There's no blueprint involved. I don't even know what I've created until it's done," he said.
Later, Poland will edit the poems before posting the work on his website, www.a-poets-calling.webs.com. He said he likes receiving feedback and criticism. "All the feedback from family and friends is positive and I think the rest is hush hush," he said.
Poland would like to publish a book of poems titled "In the Rough" where the first drafts and final printed versions are included to show the raw scribbles and misspellings — he describes his rough drafts as horrendous.
"I know I have a gift of writing, but poetry is a whole other animal, it might not accept you," he said.
Poland has ideas for writing children's books too. He has two sons, Blane and Dylan, ages 7 and 3, that were the inspiration for writing for children. "I know it's hard to look at my poetry and think I could convert it to a children's book, but the same methods apply," he said, taking a feeling or emotion and creating a story from it. Poland said he believes there's a lot of teaching you can do. "There's a lot more than 1,2,3 or A,B,C — kids are very receptive," he said. In kindergarten, Blane's class did a unit on poetry. "He nailed it," said Poland.
Poland's story ideas encourage acceptance and fellowship, transcending race, differing opinion and religion. "To show that there are friends everywhere, outside of regular ways of thinking," he said.
Poland said his family, with wife, Amanda, is his primary concern. "That's what I do before anything else. The job takes the rest and so I write when I can," he said.
Writing is Poland's "final dream, it's what I've been waiting for," he said. "We're all poets in our own right."
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at JLaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.