NPR’s Weekend Edition recently spoke with Dilruba Ahmed (poetry, ’09) about what makes poetry so important.

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Ahmed says it’s a little difficult to tease out exactly why she started writing poetry. “I can only guess that it was sort of two major factors,” she says. “One was that I grew up in a literature-loving household. … My parents are from Bangladesh, which is a country where poetry is very much a part of the cultural fabric. I think probably the other reason is that, growing up, my family moved a lot. And so that experience of being an outsider over and over again, sort of, small towns in western Pennsylvania and rural Ohio, and just trying to figure things out, sort of where I fit in, and I’m sure other people were trying to figure out where I fit in too, and we were all sort of trying to figure each other out. Being an outsider had a large influence on my poetry — maybe not my earliest efforts, but when I really started trying to write in earnest.”

“There’s potential for poetry to have more of a presence in public life,” she continues. “At formal events like readings, or things like the poems that have been posted on buses — you know, I love that idea of that sort of carrying a poem in your pocket. That might be a way to start incorporating poetry into one’s everyday life.”

Listen at NPR

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