A Visit from poet Lynne Thompson

 The award-winning poet Lynne Thompson visited (virtually) the African American Literature class at Torres – East Los Angeles Arts Magnet on October 8, 2020. Ms. Thompson shared her poetry and answered questions for almost an hour. In this virtual world, we sometimes feel separated from each other, but she brought the class together and inspired us with her work, her approach to writing, and outlook on life.

Lynne Thompson is the author of two books of poetry Fretwork) (Marsh Hawk Press, 2019) and Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007). Her poetry is included in The Best American Poetry 2020.

She is also the editor of three poetry anthologies New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press, 2010), Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press, 2004), So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach, 2003)

 Reflections on Our Time with Lynne Thompson

The number one thing I liked was the structures and techniques she used in her poetry. Like the poem where she used just the letters from the title she created. It added a sense of personalized creativity and made her work unique. I also found it very interesting that her dad was the one to influence her about writing poetry in the first place. Knowing that shows the impact of what your loved ones’ occupations or hobbies can mean to you. There were also poems she wrote about her parents and I believe in the one she wrote about her mom, there was a portion of a line that said “like a bone in gumbo” which stood out to me so much. I find the imagery she portrays in her poetry to be fascinating and I feel really inspired by the pieces she shared during class today. 

- Jamie Rush

I really enjoyed having Ms. Thompson in our class today because it felt like I was getting ready for a regular day of school with the way she brought us together. Having a visitor/poet in class really helped us interact more than we have being virtual thus far. Not only did we enjoy and learn about poetry structure, she gave some really helpful tips on pulling inspiration from the things around you. Joining this class today I've learned that no matter how different things seem you must pull yourself out of your comfort zone. With these new exercises I'm excited to see what will come of this class.

-Faith Pena

Something that interested me was how she uses music such as Beyoncé or basketball to make poetry. She connects her poetry to real world stuff and to me that was very interesting and impressive. It was also nice to be able to turn our cameras on for once and interact with each other and have a group discussion together.  Being able to have a guest speaker and being able to hear how she got into poetry was very inspirational and helpful.

-Kailah Telon

Lynne Thompson was inspired by her dad. Anything can inspire you to write. When writing a poem, you shouldn't always write the same way to make it spicy, exciting - like keep the readers with a tension for reading more. I like the fact that she used vowels and only used those letters to write one of her poems. I liked all poems, in general and the fact that she uses any sentences that she likes. We did interact with everyone and it felt pretty good. I enjoyed that she was honest and that she said that you feel happier when you do something you like.

-Nayeli Alejo-Salas

Ms. Thomson is a very creative person when it comes to writing poems. She can take inspiration from other poems and can make it her own which is really impressive because she can put her own taste in the poem. She can also make poems out of scenarios and just random moments in her life. She is very inspirational and has a lot of things to talk about like her family. She even gave some tips when being stuck when writing like to use others as inspiration. She uses songs to help her write since that is also a type of poetry.

Melissa Cordero

Lynne Thompson uses her family a lot for inspiration and they are also incorporated into her poems. I remember how she said that one of her greatest achievements was getting her poem into that anthology book that she has subscribed to for 25 years. I found that as a like wow moment because that must have been big for her. Also seeing that she makes all these amazing poems from just everyday things like basketball games and weddings. 

Kayla Gonzalez