Lauren Seal is a poet, writer, and librarian based in Edmonton, Alberta. She was named St. Albert's Third Poet Laureate for the 2022-2024 term. She mentors the teen and young adult poets of SWYC - the Spoken Word Youth Choir - and performs in the adult incarnation of the group. Lauren's poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines, anthologies, and once on a beer can. Her writing focuses heavily on illness, mental health, the body, and the difficulties of womanhood, although she does love to throw in the occasional dog or "urban nature" poem. She often writes narrative poetry and prefers using simple language. For her, a poem is a challenge to convey lots of emotion in few words.
I didn't read a lot of poetry in high school, only what was assigned in class. However, I did fall deeply in love with one poem a very special english teacher gave me to analyze: "I Should Have Caught My Unicorn When I Was" by Daria Witt. I first read it while in the midst of a serious mental health crisis and this poem did exactly what poetry is meant to do - made me feel seen and heard.
I started writing poetry when I was 14, but I didn't consider myself a poet until my mid-20s. Looking back on my poet journey, I can now see I was very wrong. I was as much a poet at 14 as I am now.
I believe poets have many different jobs. For me, I think a poet's job is to listen, observe, and record so that moments - happy, beautiful, sad, angry, hopeful - are remembered and available for others to both see themselves in and learn from.
I would memorize "How to Triumph Like a Girl" by Ada Limon. It's a beautiful, deceptively complex poem about the body, girlhood, and confidence.