Cadet, go shave. Cadet, do push-ups. Cadet, wear your cover. Cadet, knows respect. Cadet, isn’t my name. — excerpt from a poem written by Dontell Green ‘16
When Dontell Green read his poem about being a cadet in Heather Ewing’s English class a little over a week ago, he became one of the few Farragut students to have done so in the three years of appearances to Farragut by nationally acclaimed poet Megan Falley. In doing so, he shed light on how Farragut students see themselves as cadets.
“It was interesting to hear that perspective because hardly anyone had talked about it up to now,” said Falley, who has been running writing workshops for Heather Ewing’s English classes once every school year since 2014 as a way to generate interest in the “Noisy Thoughts” Poetry Club.
Falley is a nationally touring author of three full-length collections of poetry — Redhead and the Slaughter King, After the Witch Hunt and her most recent release, Bad Girls, Honey (Poems About Lana Del Rey) — who has made appearances on television as a part of TV One’s Verses and Flow. She is currently touring the country with poet Olivia Gatwood as a part of their feminist spoken word show called Speak Like A Girl.
During her January 29th appearance to Mrs. Ewing’s classes, Falley discussed her rise to fame after earning her degree in English Literature from the State University of New York New Paltz, focusing on the origin of her popular poem, Fat Girl. The poem came about when Falley and her friend had a somewhat entertaining yet enlightening confrontation with an intoxicated man late one night during college.
“The guy was calling me all sorts of rude names about my size at the time,” Falley said during her presentation to the class. “I woke up the next day and wrote the poem in 15 minutes. The poem has since resonated with people dealing with all different types of insecurities in their lives.”
Kollyne Thomas ‘16 has attended each of Falley’s workshops over the past three school years and appreciates the message in her poems.
“Megan Falley is my all-time, favorite poet,” said Kollyne, who admitted to have dealt with similar issues relating to her weight. “I related closely to the Fat Girl poem. What I love about Megan is that she’s real. She’s blunt. She does not hide from the media. She talks about how real issues affect us. The fact that she wrote a poem about her weight issues, performs it in front of a ton of people and is unashamed about it, really inspires me.”
Ben Grant ‘16, a student in Mrs. Ewing’s 5th period English class, talked about having attended fat camp for a number of years and how Falley’s poem made him feel better about the struggle surrounding his weight issues.
“It was refreshing to hear her speak about it because I had gone through a lot,” said Ben, who is a seven-day boarder in his fourth year at Farragut. “Her poem is something that I personally related to. Then, to be able to write a poem and express ourselves in an open and honest way felt empowering.”
Having her poems leave a lasting effect on students brings pride to Falley, whose tour visits 34 colleges and universities throughout the nation.
“I think it’s a reason to keep going, keep striving to produce art that connects with people,” Falley said. “The Fat Girl poem, now, I rarely am reading it for myself these days. It was nice to have a male student speak about weight issues, as well. It was great to hear his perspective, and really brave of him. I think there’s something about my bravery talking about my issues that empowers students. In Speak Like A Girl, our show is strongly influenced and motivated by what other people want and need to hear, a strong message for a want for a better world.”
Learn more about Megan Falley and her poetry www.meganfalley.com.