The House Right Up My Alley

How my English class introduced me to one of my favorite books and an author who inspired me to write admittedly mediocre poetry.

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The House Right Up My Alley

Mira Bohannan Kumar, Reporter

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Earlier in the school year, I was assigned to read a few vignettes which, together with many others, comprise The House on Mango Street, a book which pushes the narrative boundaries of poetry and melds verse and prose together in a way I’d never seen before.

Although we were only assigned to read a few sections of the book, each member of the class was given a full copy.

As anyone who has met me knows, you can’t put a book in front of me and tell me to just read part of it. I must read it all.

So, in accordance with principle, I read the whole book. Devoured it, really. I proved that my kindergarten nickname of Book-Eater was still applicable. Although, really, it’s not applicable in the same way, because then it was literal and now it is figurative. Perhaps that makes it even more clever…

But I digress;

I read it. Then I went back and read my favorite parts again. Then, when we were assigned vignettes to read for class, I read those again.  

Over the course of this perusal, I experienced a strange phenomenon I hadn’t encountered before — at least, not to this degree. I felt myself, my writing style, my technique, begin to change. In response to The House on Mango Street, this thin tome full of thick words, I began to write poetry that clumped in similar ways, that chose to change punctuation in ways that would make Strunk and White cover their mouths in horror.

This novel really was the driving force behind my return to poetry in the past year, and has had a lasting impact on my style, even when writing prose. The technique of my descriptive language and my use of punctuation are both altered forever.

Who knows if I’ve been changed for the better, but Esperanza — because of you, I have been changed for good.