Anthony Madrid, a revered writer and poet, opened up a forum for discussion on Tuesday. Students were given the opportunity to meet Madrid and hear him discuss his life’s journey to becoming a poet. “If I know it, I’ll tell it to you,” Madrid said during a question and answer session.
The PhD student of the University of Chicago first embarked on the journey poetry when he was still in high school. Having written a short story and shared it with one of his peers, Madrid realized that his talent in writing could provoke in others raw and pure responses. Betsy Cannon, the name Anthony Madrid claims he will take to his grave, was girl who first read the poet’s work and cried.
Through many inspirations such as rock-and-roll lyrics and poet Emily Dickinson, Madrid discovered his passion for writing. In a simple pamphlet from the Hudson review, Madrid read of a form of poetry called ghazal, which inspired him into creating his very own combination of fixed-form poetry that evokes a modern and surrealistic sensibility in prose inspired by works written centuries ago.
To Madrid, the most momentous point of a poem is a single “good line.” Whether it be a very meaningful line, or one written with great wit and beauty, Madrid aims to embed within his works at least one element that will stand out and be remembered.
For aspiring writers, Madrid advises that it is most important to be yourself as an artist and be receptive to criticism.
“Be open, and when people don’t like [your work], take it seriously,” Madrid said. He himself admits that doing so is not a simple task, but it is crucial to becoming a better poet.
He believes that a truly good poem is one in which you follow your own voice instead of trying to sound like others.
“Whatever you can go on a roll on – that’s your theme,” Madrid said of constructing individual work. To Madrid, a successful piece of work incorporated your own theme.
Madrid’s most notable works include the chapbook The 580 Strophes (2009) and the collection I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (2012).