I have been passionate about books my whole life. It seems like I’ve spent more of my life with my nose buried in one than not. In middle school, I read every book at my school’s library and hungered for more. Libraries have always been like a second home to me. I love the smell of books, the feel of their pages, the promise of change that comes with finishing the finial section. In high school it seems like I spent more time at my local library reading and writing than I spent at home!
Words have always inspired and excited me. I wrote my first short story when I was four years old (called “The Kitten Rescue” – my mom has kept track of it to this day), and I have not stopped writing since. Throughout my childhood, I filled a large chest with notebooks containing short stories, poetry, and countless ideas for novels, a few of which I managed to finish. Writing has always been an integral part of my identity, and I do not shy away from leaving pieces of myself in my works.
When I came to UT, I changed my major from pre-med to English with a concentration in
creative writing within the first week. Writing was so important to me, and I relished the idea of learning the craft from experienced authors and professors. While I learned a lot during my first few years in college, I felt uninspired, with little time to read or write for myself, and poor mental health causing me to struggle with the mundane.
My inspiration was sparked again, however, when my advanced poetry writing course was picked up by Erin Elizabeth Smith. Erin provided useful feedback on my work and encouraged me to start writing recklessly. I began to experiment and take risks with my poetry, which has led me to finally start making progress with my craft.
With my renewed vigor for writing, I am thrilled to be the new editorial intern for SAFTA. I am looking forward to discovering and promoting local authors, and I know this internship will give me the opportunity to grow and develop as a writer while learning about Knoxville’s poetry scene. I value the opportunity to meet other people who are just as excited about writing as I am. Find me at one of SAFTA’s reading events – I’ll be sure to say hey!
Parker Anderson is a queer writer and English student at the University of Tennessee. They are an emerging poet and essayist who loves reading, spending time outdoors, and playing video games. Most nights, you can find them experimenting with spices in their kitchen or chatting about dogs behind the front desk at Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Library.