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The Perennial

Holly Coty Shares Love for Poetry

William Lloyd

With her enthusiasm for literature and a passion for poetry, Pinewood Upper Campus Writing teacher Holly Coty not only leads the annual Poetry Out Loud competition, but also fosters a love for writing and poetry within Pinewood students.

For Coty, POL is more than just a competition; it’s a way for students to better understand poetry and expression.

“I have a tremendous affection for that program because it’s so thoughtful and well-designed, and I’ve been working with it for several years,” she said.

Through POL, students are able to immerse themselves in the voices of a variety of poets, gaining insight into different perspectives while improving their speaking skills.

“For students, [POL] is a way to step into another person’s voice to understand voice in a different way,” she said. “I think poetry speaks for the soul.”

Coty’s journey with poetry began long before she stepped into the classroom. From the works of poets like Dante and Milton to cherished memories of her mother reading aloud, poetry has always been important in her life.

“I remember my mom reading out loud to me,” Coty said.  “I can still hear her voice in my head.”

With its ability to convey complex emotions in subtle ways, poetry soon became her sanctuary for self-expression.

“There’s something about poetry that lets you explore depth of meaning in ways that aren’t straightforward, which I really love,” she said.“I’m not a person who’s very crafty or good at art, but for me, to experiment with poetry and to try different things has always been rewarding.”

Coty advises Pinewood students interested in poetry to connect with others who share similar interests for such topics.

“Find a community you can reach out to,” she said. “I would talk to teachers, get involved with the Creative Writing Club, give yourself some freedom to experiment.”

Like most artists, Coty acknowledges that her own poetry often remains as works in progress, or fragmentary poems. Because of her experience in this, Coty emphasizes the importance of embracing imperfection.

“Always be willing to write down your own poems,” she said. “They don’t have to be perfect. They can be messy, and I think poetry should be a messy space. It’s not about creating something that’s perfect, it’s just about creating.”

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