You will rarely find freshman Caroline Sasso without a notebook of some sort on hand. Already a published author, Caroline recently won eight awards for creative writing through the 2017 Scholastic Arts and Writing competition: four Gold Keys, three Silver Keys and an Honorable Mention. She also placed in the top 20 percent of the National Library of Poetry competition in 2015 and was published in the book “Eloquence” as a result.
“The drive behind me writing this much and me entering [in] this many competitions has definitely always been the fact that I want to be a writer,” said Caroline. “I want to have enough experience and enough influence in the industry to be able to live off poetry and be able to do it well for a living because that’s my passion.”
Caroline’s interest in poetry began in a creative writing summer camp at Stanford University through the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Scholar Institute. Before attending this camp, Caroline considered herself solely a prose writer, meaning that she exclusively wrote short fiction stories. However, after the first week of the summer camp, Caroline found an interest in the free nature of poetry.
“Poetry is my favorite probably because I find it the most freeing out of all of the forms of writing,” she said. “I prefer [to focus on] something that makes the reader feel an emotion and for me, it is easier to convey that emotion through poetry.”
Caroline’s writing is inspired by authors such as Arthur Rimbaud, Lucille Clifton and William Shakespeare, but also by her surroundings.
“[I draw my inspiration from] pretty much anywhere and everywhere. I will look around and see something and it will spark a line of poetry and I will sit down and start writing,” she said.
Caroline has already published her poetry in an avant-garde chapbook called “Five Trains of Thought and an Apple Slice” through the Young Artists Language & Devotion Alliance, founded by Caroline’s mentor, Farnoosh Fathi. Avant-garde poetry is poetry that pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as normal in regard to culture, society, and art and a chapbook is a small paperback booklet, typically containing poems or fiction.
“[Five Trains of Thought and an Apple Slice] is surrealist poetry so it’s what a lot of people would consider absurd,” she said. “What [the chapbook] attempts to do is that it forces you to confront emotions that you don’t want to deal with and that you don’t necessarily want in your life.”
Caroline’s advisor and Upper School English teacher Joel Garza said that Caroline’s intellectually courageous and stylistically innovative writing style is reflected in her poetry and essays.
“Caroline is adept at writing in a variety of styles and modes. Her poetry is a challenging and rewarding read—she crafts poems with loads of images and ideas to juggle. She writes just as well for the mind as for the ear,” Mr. Garza said.
In the future, Caroline wants to not only be a professional, published author but to also be an inspiration for aspiring writers like herself.
“My biggest hope for my writing is that it does the same thing to a young person like what Dr. Fathi did for me,” said Caroline. “I want to inspire people because of everything the writing community has done for me. I would be honored if that would [happen] through my work one day.”