'Boro student publishes 'Wet Monasteries'

Category:  The Arts
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:37 AM
'Boro student publishes 'Wet Monasteries' by Hazel Modlin
Latif Ba posing with his poetry book. | Photo: Hazel Modlin

“This book doesn’t have any answers. It’s simply a record of the world from my flawed eyes: my experiences in verse.”

This brief introduction can be found in the author’s note of “Wet Monasteries,” a recently published collection of poetry by senior Latif Ba. He was inspired to write the book after taking a creative writing class on campus.

Ironically, Ba is currently a major in computer science, while also carrying minors in mathematics and creative writing. He says that the reason he began writing in the first place was because, as an aspiring game designer, he was required to take a few art classes that he was not able to take due to his disability. Because of this, he chose to supplement those classes with creative writing, and they stuck with him.

After the class ended, he continued to write poetry in his free time, eventually decided to compile his work.

“I wouldn’t say it was discouraging, it was just a tedious process,” said Ba when asked about putting it together.

Around the time this was happening, Edinboro had its assistant care program that helped some of the disabled students on campus. Ba was born with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, so he took part in this program. One of Ba’s caretakers happened to be a published poet and gave him guidance along his path. This caretaker went so far as suggesting the name of the publishing company that ended up releasing Ba’s work.

Encouraged by those initial interactions, Ba continued to add to the collection of poetry he had compiled and eventually had enough for the small book.

“I write on my own time because it is something I came to enjoy as a creative outlet.”

According to Ba, his poetry helped him express himself in a way that he could not otherwise.

While he did make a point to edit his poems after initial inspiration, he also wants to give his poetry a “raw” feeling.

“I like poetry because it is short and concise and has the ability to get its point across without unnecessary words.”

Ba uses the poetry in his book to describe what it is like living with a disability and to share his experiences with the rest of the world.

His favorite piece stems from his roots in Brooklyn, New York. The poem, “Gowanus,” is about a polluted canal near his house. He explained that he was able to deliver a reflection about himself by using the bridge, which is something he believes can only truly be accomplished through poetry.

When asked what advice he would give aspiring writers, he said he believes that everyone should go after their goals.

“Don’t be afraid to write about whatever you want to write about.”

Ba worries that aspiring authors are no longer writing for themselves and are instead writing what others enjoy reading. He says that “too many people are concerned with writing to be published, and this causes people to write about what publishers want to read and leads to the loss of some interesting original ideas.”

He believes writing should be fun, and if you think your writing is good enough, you’ll find someone willing to publish it.

For anyone interested in reading Ba’s poetry, copies are available on Amazon, or can be obtained from Ba himself. Each copy is $10. Ba can be reached at: lba.askia@gmail.com.

Additional Photos:

Latif Ba posing with his poetry book. | Photo: Hazel Modlin

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