November 20, 2019 || Vol. 92, No. 10 - page 6

November 20, 2019
6 The Outlook
Literary passion is craft-
ed early in one’s life. For
Sarah Jessica Curtis, it
was in elementary school.
Now, three self-published
books later, her literary
spark is burning brighter
than ever.
Curtis, a freshman Eng-
lish creative writing stu-
dent, published her latest
poetry book this past June,
The book is divided into
four sections: ‘Clouds,’
which features poems that
are sad, dark, and cloudy,
‘Thunder and Lightning’,
which is comprised of
thoughtful poems, ‘Rain,’
which includes poems that
are cleansing and uplift-
ing, and ‘Sun’, which ends
the book on a happy note.
is Curtis’
third book, following the
release of her first two nov-
The Silent Silhouettes
and its sequel
A Second Si-
. Not only did Curtis
publish these books on her
own, but she also created
each cover design with the
help of her brother.
Curtis’ debut novel,
Silent Silhouettes
, was
published in 2016 at the
age of 14. The sequel was
published two years later,
stemming from an ever-
lasting devotion to the
literary craft. The young
Poet Taije Silverman came
to Wilson Hall for the sec-
ond Visiting Writers Series
of the semester on Nov. 18.
Silverman is the author of
Houses are Fields,
a collec-
tion of poems focusing on
the themes of intimacy and
loss. She is an author who
didn’t choose poetry, but po-
etry chose her.
Silverman has recently
finished her second manu-
script, which explores many
contemporary issues. Silver-
man said during the reading,
“My second book is about
sexism and racism, lots of
isms but never do I say -ism
throughout the book.” She
went on to explain that these
pieces are to help normalize
life when you have so many
voices talking around you.
Not only is Silverman an
amazing, dedicated poet, but
she is also bilingual. In be-
tween two readings, she had
a conversation with one of
the Italian professors here at
Monmouth in Italian.
Through the Visiting Writ-
ers Series, students, faculty,
and the public had the op-
portunity to ask Silverman
about her book and her writ-
ing process, among other
The Visiting Writers Se-
ries provides students with
the opportunity to broaden
their horizons. A junior his-
tory and English student,
James Watson, was required
to attend this event for class,
but having never been to one
of these events, he said that
he was surprised by how
insightful he found it. He
added, “Although I am more
into fiction, because of this
event I would be willing to
try poetry.”
Many of Silverman’s po-
ems were about grief or pain
because she writes about her
own experiences. In fact, she
read one of her poems at her
fathers’ funeral.
She also read a piece called
But I Didn’t Look at Her
which will be featured in the
next issue of
Southern Issue
Silverman said that she
writes about the truth be-
cause she was raised to tell
the truth. Telling the truth
makes it okay—it’s the hid-
ing of things that makes her
Silverman gains inspira-
tion from Giovanni Pascoli,
an Italian poet of the nine-
teenth century, while pass-
ing on this inspiration to
her audience in Wilson Hall.
The room was filled with
people of various ages, all
interested in hearing what
Silverman had to say about
her craft.
Taking her audience into
account, Silverman passed
on some valuable advice.
She said, “When you send
something out to be pub-
lished, something that can
be rejected, don’t fear the
rejection. Instead pretend
adult paranormal mystery
began as a short story assign-
ment for her English class in
high school, before expand-
ing it into a 216-page novel.
“My teacher gave it back
and said it would make a
great novel,” said Curtis.
“That was real motivation
that, ‘Wow, I can actually do
this. I can become an author
if I wanted to.’ That little
push was a lot of inspiration
for me to actually do it.”
Now, in college, Curtis
gains inspiration from her
English professors as she ad-
vances through the realm of
Susan Goulding, an Asso-
ciate Professor of English and
Chair of the English Depart-
ment, commented on Cur-
tis’ book, “I applaud student
initiative and the example of
success such work offers.”
Curtis will be conducting
a book signing at Barnes &
Noble at the Monmouth Mall
on Nov. 24 from 12 to 2 p.m.
“Every time I do book
signings there’s always a
crowd of people that stop by
that I’ve never met before,
and they’re always so friend-
ly and interested in the pro-
cess. I like to talk to people,
meet them, and see what they
think about the books,” she
Curtis’ next endeavor will
be writing and publishing a
third book to continue
Silent Silhouettes
making it a trilogy, while
also working on another
book of poems. Each book
she publishes in the fu-
ture will feature her unique
writing style, no matter the
“I love to put my own per-
sonality into the text,” Cur-
tis shared. “Even though
the characters aren’t who I
am, they’ll still have little
tendencies that I have too
whether it’s how they speak
or how they think. My writ-
ing style is different from
others in that way because
it’s my own personality.”
Inevitably, Curtis has had
to face a few challenges
along the way.
She said, “The biggest
challenge has been trying
to spread the word around
it and get the books around
because as a self-published
author, you have to do ev-
erything yourself. It’s re-
ally hard to get it out there.
I’m lucky that I am able to
do signings at Barnes and
Curtis’ three books have
proved that she is a dedicated
author with a great sense of
navigating through the pro-
cess of novel writing.
Emily Adamo, a freshman
English education student,
said, “I’ve known Sarah
since high school and I con-
tinue to be impressed by her
ability to juggle her academ-
ics and still have time for so
much creativity, including
her great new book of poetry.
Her dedication to her writing
is ref lected in her work.”
Now, Curtis is turning over
the next chapter of her life as
she continues to write in col-
She said, “In the future I
would definitely love to pub-
lish more books. It would be
great to look into traditional
publishing and submit books
to be published by bigger
companies. That is a goal of
She also gave advice for
aspiring authors, “A lot
of people didn’t take my
books seriously because
I’m young, but I try not to
let that get me down and
stop my dream of writing.”
“Never give up on your
dreams and keep going no
matter what anyone says.
It’s totally possible. If I
did it at 14, anyone can
do it at any age,” she con-
you’re an agent, pretend you
are sending it out for some-
one else, so that if it gets re-
jected it isn’t your rejection
but someone’s that you man-
The Visiting Writers Series
was founded about 15 years
ago by Michael Thomas, As-
sociate Dean of the School
of Humanities & Social Sci-
ences. The series focuses on
connecting students with au-
thors who have made an im-
pact on the world.
Authors who have been
invited to participate in the
Visiting Writers Series are
renowned for the works they
discuss with their Monmouth
audience. Many of these au-
thors are award-winning best
sellers who have been recog-
nized by journals, with some
even winning the Pulitzer
Prize. Among the authors
who became a part of this se-
ries is Richard Blanco, who
was President Obama’s Inau-
guration poet.
Thomas said, “In the an-
cient old tradition of the
oral performance and recita-
tion of poetry that goes back
thousands of years, we get to
experience words and lan-
guage in poetry in its best
way, which is from the hu-
man voice and people get to
have all of these experiences
that come through the poet
that maybe are not their own,
but then become their own
once they hear the poems.”
There are many benefits to
going to a live reading, but
truly being there and hear-
ing what an author has to
share can give someone a
whole new perspective. It is
up to the students what they
receive from an event like
this, but if they take the time
PHOTO COURTESY of Sarah Jessica Curtis
Self-published author Sarah Jessica Curtis has
played a literary passion though each of her three books.
not only can they make valu-
able connections, but also
step out of their world and
into someone else’s, even if
its just for a little while. That
is what the Visiting Writers
Series is about.
A n A u t h o r ’ s P u r p o s e
PHOTO COURTESY of Peter Decherney
Poet Taije Silverman visited
Wilson Hall on Nov. 18, con-
necting with students in a literary discussion.
V i s i t i n g W r i t e r T a i j e S i l v e r m a n
“When you send something out to be
published...don’t fear the rejection.”
Author of Houses are Fields
1,2,3,4,5 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,...16
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