Vee Gaspa, a sophomore undeclared major interested in creative theatre and art, is already trying to accomplish something many have only dreamed, to get her poetry collection published as a book. She is forgoing the process of appealing to amateur publishers that help new writers and going straight to the major publishers.
Gaspa was inspired to write poetry from her life, using her experiences of surviving cancer at any early age.
“I have two brain tumors, one on the optic nerve of each eye. The tumors are the source of my blindness. My blindness has given me a wider range of topics to write about. I believe it makes my writing more in-depth, and certainly gives me a different angle to write from.”
Gaspa starts her poetry process simply.
“I just start with one line that I really like and expand off of it,” Gaspa said. “I have to be inspired. I have to be emotionally impacted before I write something.”
Gaspa initially came up with her poems by using songs she had previously written in her free time. Only a few structural and lyrical changes were required to convert her songs into poetry.
Gaspa did not do it all on her own, however. While taking English 1202, professor Christopher Amnott noticed her talent during a creative writing assignment.
“I offer to all my classes the opportunity to present any original work to the class for extra credit,” Amnott said.
Wanting another person to look at her writing, Gaspa sought help from Amnott.
“I was truly blown away by the power of her words and her backstory as both a cancer survivor and a leader for blind people everywhere,” Amnott said.
Since that point, Amnott has helped Gaspa realize that publishing her work is a possibility. Furthermore, he has guided her toward improving her writing and expanding her collection of poems. Amnott said that “she has continued to grow as both a writer and a person, which is truly inspiring to witness.”
Together, Gaspa and Amnott have been trying to secure a publishing deal since late October.While no deal has been made yet, Gaspa continues to look for an agreement with publishers like Black Mountain Press and Coffee House Press. Until that deal comes, however, Gaspa will continue to add to her collection of poems and inspire others.
Zachary Wohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.