I grew up reading and writing at any chance. From my first memorable encounter with the written word—my first grade hands clumsily flipping through Valerie Worth’s All the Small Poems—I knew, but couldn’t yet express, the magical potency of poetry.
As I went through high school, what guided me was writing poems about my personhood and journalistic articles about my surroundings. Both modes of writing grounded me in their own ways, allowing me to safely negotiate a new environment and my ever-changing relationship to it. I was lucky enough to find others who wanted to hold onto that same feeling, meeting them at summer workshops like those at Kenyon and Sewanee, as well as literary organizations and magazines, both on-campus and in the real world.
A breakthrough moment for me came recently, in realizing that my interests in creative writing and longer-form writing were not mutually exclusive. Instead, I’m interested in how this work informs each other, how language both describes but also helps shape our realities.
To me, writing has always been a reminder of plurality—a small way to reflect the world’s wholeness. I like to think of writing as a dispatch from a new, self-created space. That’s why publications feel so sacred; they serve as an embodiment of this space, enclosing and protecting the world generated by words. For that reason, I’m so looking forward to this opportunity with Sundress, to continue understanding the role of writing in my life, and conversely, the contributions I can give back to the literary community.
Claire Shang is a freshman at Columbia University, where she is an editor with The Columbia Review. She is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction, and a reader of mostly everything. Her work has appeared in or been recognized by Peach Mag, No, Dear Magazine, and Smith College.
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