Hunter Baugh, a senior English major with an emphasis on creative writing, is the Senior Class Poet of 2015-16. Baugh submitted three of his poems for the award. According to the North Central website, the Senior Class Poet “is a life-long honor that many universities bestow.” A recognized poet would judge all the submitted poems. In addition to being the Senior Class Poet, the selected student will get the opportunity to recite his or her poem at several universities.
Even with a busy schedule, Baugh was able to explain his writing process and the meanings of his poems through an email interview.
What are your poems about?
B: The poems I submitted, and the poetry I typically write, covers a wide range of subject matter. There is no sorrow like the banjo is about music and depression. Doubt, in the morning is about admiring nature and wondering about the cosmos. September 29 is a love poem.
How did you get inspired to write your award-winning poems?
B: Each of these poems came out of something I found compelling in the world. What specifically is compelling tends to change, from the banjo, an instrument that is widely considered to have a happy sound and yet is used for a genre of music that expresses deep heartache, to a painting put online by one of my favorite illustrators, to the sonnets of Shakespeare.
Was there anyone who helped you? What was your process like during this time?
B: For Senior Class Poet, Joseph Capeheart helped me decide what poems to submit. He’s one of my best friends, and a trusted colleague when it comes to writing.
Did you expect to be the Senior Class Poet?
B: I didn’t expect it so much as desperately hope. 🙂
What is the Senior Class Poet?
B: The idea of a Senior Class Poet is an old one, done by universities all around the world. At NCU, the Senior Class poet is someone considered having a particular dedication to the craft of poetry to the extent that it makes them stand out among the rest of their graduating class. Previous winners like Victoria Pyron or Britta Jenson were absolutely stand-out writers in their class, and I’m ecstatic to be included in that group.
What does it mean to be the Senior Class Poet to you?
B: This award comes in the middle of what feels like an endless, exhausting scramble to make ends meet. I work overnights, and so because of that I am often walking sleepily from class to class to chapel to work. Aside from the emotionally uplifting gift that getting the award means, this will help me with grad school applications and is a great boost for my resume.
What/How is the process for being the Senior Class Poet? (steps you had to take, certain majors)
B: The senior class poet is available to all graduating seniors at NCU. The submitters turn in three poems and these documents are forwarded to an off-site judge who critiques the poems without our names and selects a winner. This judge also has to be an active and published writer of poetry.
What are your plans after graduation?
B: I am working on a graphic novel, and a chapbook of illustrated, sequential poetry that I hope to publish soon after graduation. Aside from that I intend to try my hand at freelance writing for a living and considering graduate programs to continue my studies.