July 21, 2024

Utah’s poet laureate urges students to constantly write

This archived article was written by: Gypsie Delgado

Utah’s Poet Laureate, Kent Brewer, visited CEU’s campus sharing his poetry and poetry of new Utah poets. Brewer was named Utah’s Poet Laureate on January 24, 2003 and travels through out the state sharing his poetry with others.
At CEU Brewer encouraged students to write and even offered to help critique students work. He informed writers on how to go about writing poetry and how to get their work published. Even though many believe poetry is not a popular form of literature, Brewer informed students that according to the last census there are 25-million poetry readers. He explained that people tend to go to poetry for inspiration or in time of pain and suffering, such as war.
“Whatever happens around me, whatever I see, has potential for a poem,” Brewer expressed. Many describe poets as having split personalities, according to Brewer, it maybe true. He told students that he will often hear a word that will alert him to the possibility of something he can use in a poem. “I like to create characters, find one particular level and capture the universe.”
He told students to read as much as they can, encouraged them to go to poetry readings and to form peer groups where they can read their poetry out loud and experience constructive criticism.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., Brewer moved to Silver City, N. M., after spending a year at Butler University, Ind. playing football. He originally wanted to become a football coach but started studying English where he became interested in British literature and poetry. After suffering a leg injury that ended his football career, he finished school and graduated from New Mexico University with a bachelor’s of arts degree in English and secondary education. He was a first-generation college student.
Brewer then entered New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M. to earn his masters of art degree. He then met Keith Wilson, who became his mentor. Wilson encouraged Brewer to become a full-time writer. He published his first poem, “Pastel.” After completing his master’s, he taught at a high school in Las Cruces. In 1968 he became a professor at Utah State University. While teaching three days a week, Brewer sought out to acquire his Ph.D. at University of Utah. He then published his first compilation, “Catching Light.”
After 32 years in the English Department at USU he retired to continue writing. Brewer has written over 300 poems and published 10 books. His books tend to have a plot throughout the whole book. Now that Brewer is retired, he spends a lot of time in his office in downtown Logan reading books of philosophy, science and writing. He also enjoys taking photographs of nature.
He will continue traveling around the West, sharing his work with others through readings as he continues to reign as Utah Poet Laureate until 2008. “I try to write everyday. I can’t imagine not writing, it’s the fabric of my life. My life would have been less valuable without it,” Brewer stated passionately.