Creativity amid uncertainty: Ronnie Ward

Ward’s love for poetry began in the 3rd grade when she began keeping a poetry journal (pictured).

In this edition of “Creativity amid uncertainty” our featured artist is senior Ronnie Ward. Ward is a poet specializing in narrative poetry, drawing inspiration from the racial struggles of African Americans in the United States and the BLM movement.

Q&A:

Q: What inspired you to start writing poetry?

A: I’ve always loved to write and actually started taking writing more seriously my freshman year and wrote mostly short stories. But, in the beginning of my junior year, I had an English assignment where I had to write a poem inspired by “Child of the Americas” by Aurora Levins Morales. It was a different experience for me and I loved it. The poem I wrote for that assignment is still one of my favorites and won a silver medal in a writing competition over the summer.

Q: How has poetry helped you cope during quarantine?

A: Poetry has really helped me expel some of the emotion I’ve had bottled up for the past year. Sometimes, when I don’t want to talk to my family or call a friend to talk about how I’m feeling, I’ll write about it instead and it usually helps me feel better.

Q: Has your poetry changed at all during the pandemic?

A: Yes and no. My poetry has always been focused on issues I and many other African Americans face with things such as identity and feeling like we don’t belong, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has made me want to write more about that. But, I also took Creative Writing this year and the different prompts have definitely helped me expand my writing into other ideas.

Q: Do you look up to any other poets?

A: When I first started writing I participated in the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition and met a girl named Fredrica Deegbe who won the gold medal for written poetry in Montgomery County and went on to win the bronze medal Nationally. I don’t think she knows this but I vividly remember hearing her poem for the first time and being in awe. Every word she spoke, every stanza, and even the way the poem looked on paper was deliberate. You had to be there to understand but her poetry was meaningful and, for lack of a better word, ethereal. I don’t know where she is now but I hope she’s still writing and one day I want my poems to have the same effect on others as hers did with me.

Q: How would you describe your style of poetry?

A: Since I’m still learning, I don’t think I have a distinct style yet. But right now, I like to tell stories with my poems since that’s what I’m used to so right now I’d say narrative poetry.

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