No, I don’t play competitive sports or shoot up heroin. I don’t go on morning runs or watch the Super Bowl. I get my adrenaline from the scores and lighting in movies seen in theaters and the smell of cooked arroz con leche from Washington Heights bakeries. My poetry often reflects the many rants I have with myself, in my head, on a daily basis. That smell of arroz con leche inspired a love note to my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan. The score of the film Queen & Slim brought a piece about children wanting power out of me. My poems are usually about other people, but I never take the time to notice how frequently the things that trigger my senses provoke the way I express my thoughts about them. I wrote a poem about a boy this past June that, after re-reading it, I realized was inspired by my reusable Starbucks cup with desert rock and cacti patterns on it. Another one of my pieces was derived from studying gothic architecture, specifically in the texture of the Chartres Cathedral’s outside walls and windows. I am drawn to art of all kinds, as long as it indulges my senses. I then incorporate this physicality, or at least I attempt to, into my poetry. I have yet to find a taste that provokes my poetic thought, but I am on the hunt for one. Who needs drugs or athletics when there are movie soundtracks, your grandmother’s cooking, and Art History classes?

3 Replies to “Adrenaline”

  1. I love that you mentioned gothic architecture because this past break I spent at least a good hour or two curled up in a Barnes and Noble reading (or looking at, I suppose) a massive photography book of gothic architecture called “The Art of Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting”. Apparently reviewers refer to it as “the bible of gothic architecture” (thanks, Goodreads); I wouldn’t know that, but it sure did have some crisp images. I can’t imagine you’re going to go out and spend forty dollars on it, though, so I’m instead going to suggest that you check out the Internet Archive ( It’s this huge non-profit website that collects open source books, images, data, audio files, etc. of…pretty much anything you can imagine, actually, including gothic architecture. If you’re interested in pretty much anything, it’s going to be on the archive.

    Actually, there’s multiple poetry collections on the Archive that you might be interested in – there’s “Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe” that collects the spoken poetry of hispanic (mostly Puerto Rican, if I remember correctly) poets; there’s 260 poems and pretty much every single one of them is different from the last. More contemporarily (I believe that collection was created in 1994), there’s such a wide berth of strange, strange collections avaliable: would you like to read the simply titled “Poetry by Kathleen”, whose cover is just a picture of an old woman dressed straight out of the seventies writing fluff pieces about her cats sleeping? What about McGuill University’s collection of their personal college newspaper, detailing poetry and articles all submitted by students? Where on earth is McGuill University, you ask? Who knows! There’s also no end to niche topics on the Archive; things like “Christain Allegory in Early Hispanic Poetry” and “Beatboxing Poetry”. Who needs a lesson in these things? Maybe you, if you find them interesting!

  2. From reading your response about “Adrenaline” I can agree that I as well take my internal feelings (such as rants, controversies, and even normal conversations) and apply them to my poetry. I feel as if it is easy to think of as these ideas right away when writing because they are constantly circulating in my had on a daily basis. I suggest reading a few short poems from a website I found called
    I have found these to be written along the lines of positive emotions, negative emotions, love, and even a few rants.

    I found it very interesting that you mentioned that you wrote a poem about your reusable Starbucks cup as I can relate to this in many ways. I as well carry around with me a Nalgene and my roommate actually has a pink sparkly textured reusable cup from Starbucks on campus. She loves it so dearly because her favorite color is pink. I discovered a section of “The New Emily Dickinson Studies” book online specifically pointed to a page about adamant objects which I feel could be helpful to you. This page goes on to talk about objects in poems and how we perceive them as readers. You can reach this website by googling the title of the book and searching “objects.”

    Lastly, I want to bring up that when you first mentioned “Washington Heights” my mind immediately thought of the award winning play “In the Heights” which I’m sure you have definitely heard of. The play was amazing (I read it last year!) and I have heard that a movie/musical is coming out soon (June 2020!!) which I highly suggest you go and see. Not only will it be a great film but you may also gain inspiration for future poems!

  3. Lidabel, I love the idea that a poem might come from or produce adrenaline, and I encourage you to explore all the ways that might be true for you and in what you read this semester. Keep an eye for where you see poems that might have the breathlessness/frenzy for which you’re looking…Nate Marshall’s anthology The Breakbeat Poets: Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop, could be one place to find some, though I know what you’re seeing in terms of adrenaline is more than the world of hip hop. I am keen to see how it might emerge from place, cuisine, and questions of belonging. Sarah Gambito and Patrick Rosal’s poetry will, I think, be very much in keeping with what you’re looking for…check some out! And if you’ve never written a poem inspired by Trinity Church Cemetery, check that out next time you’re home…

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