Online Video Series: Anna Zarra Aldrich with “Spring Cleaning”

Thank you to WHUS for letting us use their space, and of course to Anna for reading!
Filming: Elizabeth Sankey
Editing: Daniela Doncel
Interviewer: Amanda McCarthy

Spring Cleaning

The cherry tree bursts open pink
the scarred, twisted trunk
gives way to a firework display.
Blush petals surrender to the breeze,
and rock to the frosted ground-
tears viewed through rose-colored glasses.

A worn mattress rests against the tree;
muddy and ashen stains mar it.
The vibrant floral design has decayed,
shadows of flowers unswayed by the wind
that spurs blossoms to flight.

The doomed petals grow and fall freely,
dashing carelessly into the street,
teasing the cars that drive past;
none stop to take the mattress away.

“Hi, my name is Anna Zarra Aldrich. I’m a sophomore at UCONN, and I’m majoring in English, political science, and journalism. My poetry largely focuses on nature and exploring the interaction of nature and human culture and cities and urban environments, which is something that really came out in this poem that I just read.
I do love the environment and writing about the environment and building these really great natural scenes with my poetry. So, I think some of my poetry would categorize me as an eco-poet. I wouldn’t say that that label is necessarily totally all- encompassing of everything I do and want to do as a poet.
Something I’d like to accomplish through my poetry is, in addition to just like getting out there, getting published, having people read it and maybe gain something from it and just enjoyment or may explore some emotions and scenes that people can really connect to and take something away from that and I feel like that would be really awesome.
I’ve always loved poetry, going all the way back to elementary school. I found this project I had made in fifth grade where we wrote a series of poems. And I’ve always just been really interested in poetry and the written word and I found a really beautiful way to express things, to communicate things, and I’ve just been developing that since then.
With the poem I just read, “Spring Cleaning,” I was driving home from my nana’s house one day and I saw a mattress underneath a cherry tree that was in full bloom. That’s so interesting. This is really cool. I want to write about this. And so as soon as I got home I started jotting down ideas in my journal. And so it’s usually something like that. A scene, or an incident or I’ll just come up with a phrase and that will get the ball rolling. I don’t really have much luck if I’m just like “I’m gonna sit down and write poetry today.” And I usually end up staring at a blank page and cleaning my room or something else. So. it’s definitely more organic inspiration.
Sometimes just random phrases will come into my head right before I’m falling asleep or when I’m in the shower. One poem I remember started with “you visit me in the liminal of my consciousness.” And it’s like I don’t know where that phrase came from, but it’s really cool, and so I just took that and worked with it and I developed it into a much fuller poem. So, it’s just random incidents like that. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.
I just think that words are really beautiful and meaningful, and especially how specific they can be. And you can use those words to communicate something so personal and so exact in terms of a feeling, an emotion, an experience, or building a scene. And I just love to be able to use words in a way that you don’t really get to with academic writing. Or I’m also a reporter for the Daily Campus, and so in journalistic writing you don’t really get to use words in that kind of creative way. But with poetry, because there are so few words usually, especially per line, each one gets to mean so much and be so particular and you really get to explore the power of words and how they can work to communicate something so strong with so few of them.”

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