Artists often emerge from all facets of life– poets are no exception.

From undergrads, to grad students to doctorate students, poets are all around us.

Christina Yoo

Christina Yoo

Meet Christina Yoo, a 28-year-old TESL grad student.

Yoo is featuring her piece “Vermont/Wilshire and Western Olympic,”  which was written about seven years ago.

The piece is about her personal upbringing and background as a Korean-American.

Her parents made a living in Korea Town, and she wants to shed light on the cultural roots that molded her family and made her who she is today.

She hopes that when someone reads this piece they get a clearer insight on the cultural influences that come with being a Korean-American from Korea Town, and that readers see echoes of this cultural influence in her positive perspective.

“I believe poetry is a method of self-expression,” Yoo said. “It is also a way to convey your emotional thoughts and feelings. I think it is very beneficial and helpful to those who feel writing is a way of expressing themselves.”

Yoo began writing poetry in high school, but defined her love for it when she began studying English as an undergraduate.

Poets like Edgar Allen Poe have been very influential to her, because of his ability to not hold back.

She also enjoys the dark ambient style of his poetry.

“I like how he releases a lot of emotional English and his true thoughts and feelings,” Yoo said.

She aspires to keep poetry in her life by documenting it on her blog where she plans to grow her poetry collection.

Yoo seeks a career in teaching English to here in California, but will be teaching English this summer in China.

Her poetry mainly consists of a free writing style.

She enjoys the calm tones and the straightforward style of the writing.

For Yoo, the feeling of putting pen to paper makes the poetry feel more genuine.

Ivan Rios

Ivan Rios

Next up is Ivan Rios, a 27-year-old English rhetoric, composition and literature graduate student, featuring his piece “She,” which he wrote in 2016 while on a camping trip.

The trip made him realize how insignificantly small people really are when compared to the grandiosity of the universe.

He was inspired by simply looking up into the cosmos. He believes people look down in life too often and fail to see life’s other perspectives.

He originally wrote the poem in Spanish.

He eventually transcribed his poem into English when he got back from  a trip to submit and get the piece published with the Pomona Valley Review.

“Fiction and poetry have the ability to change the world not only for yourself but when other people read your work. They might not read it as you wrote it,” Rios said. “It creates alternative realities or even possibilities for the world to go into.”

Writing for Rios began in the second grade when he and his mother wrote and published a children’s book, which was themed around penguins.

He has been writing ever since but only began to push to publish his work when he started college.

Rios has been further inspired to elevate his writing abilities and create more poetry due to being pushed by an array of supportive professors from both Cal Poly Pomona and Mt. SAC.

Rios believes it is important to credit everyone as a form of giving back.

In his view, no one does anything alone. Everything is a cycle especially writing.

Specifically, he thanks John Brantigham and Lloyd Aquino from Mt. SAC. He also thanks Dr. De Rosa and Dr. Corely from CPP.

Rios is also the singer and drummer for Zietgesit & the Mage — a band he formed with his twin brother.

Although he pictures himself pursuing a career in teaching, Rios never wants to stop writing.

As it is for many writers, transcribing innate, primal, raw emotions on to paper serves as a tool to self medicate in a sense.

Writing for many is a form of self induced therapy — where the writer is both the therapist and the  patient awaiting to better understand his or herself.

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