My First Poetry Teacher

As I work on my MFA autobiographical sketch, I’m remembering all my early poetry influences.

Lauryn Hill was my first poetry teacher.

In 8th grade, Mr. Lewis asked us to bring in our favorite poems for our short 4-week poetry unit. I remember listening to “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” on repeat in order to meticulously record the lyrics. My older cousins and I would drive around Hayward aimlessly, listening to this album. These were the first “poems” I connected to, and I remember loving the way Lauryn linked history, politics and her own experience in one verse. Even though I didn’t understand all the references she made, I also loved how she rhymed, the way she was a powerful force on the mic. She was unapologetic, witty, contemplative and just plain COOL.

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