Poet With a Purpose


Daemond Arrindell teaches in Anna Ferdinand’s tenth grade english class about the expression that can be allowed through poetry. Arrindell’s trip to Sedro was in collaboration with Skagit Rivrt Portry Foundstion, an organiszation that brings poets to work with students throughout Watcom and Skagit county. Photo by Camree Nilsen.

Camree Nilsen, Reporter

Students came into their English class and were immediately asked to take out a piece of paper and begin judging the man in front of them. From his race to how he grew up financially, the sophomores were told to answer them all. Being able to stand up in front of a classroom takes grit as is, but asking kids to openly answer personal questions, a stranger to the students, takes it to a whole new level.

Daemond Arrindell’s teaching style, while being extremely unique, takes the insecurities out of his students because he is leading by example.

“Asking students to do something that I’m not doing myself is unfair, so hence why I start off with the judgement game because it makes me completely and totally vulnerable,” said Arrindell.

I had the opportunity to see how putting himself out there in such a way helped ease kids through the process of writing their own poetry and feel comfortable sharing in front of their peers.

“Poetry has a tendency to get people to open up in ways that other writing and other art forms don’t. And it’s one of the reasons why I think a lot of people shy away, ‘oh we got to talk about feelings, I don’t want to talk about my feelings’ because it makes it makes us vulnerable,” said Arrindell.

The importance in being able to push passed the vulnerable stage of producing your own poetry is a huge leap in the right direction because it breaks down the wall of humiliation. Arrindell uses the judgment game as a tool to allow the deconstruction of people’s individual barriers be a less overwhelming task.

“Every kid has their struggle and I do not know what that struggle is,” said Arrindell.
He firmly believes, along with many others, that poetry is a very personal thing and can be difficult for some kids to write because of it.     Arrindell reaches out to every kid and gets to know them so that he is better able to take his skills as a poet and help those who need him.

“If I immediately write off a student who’s not writing but I don’t know why they’re not writing, all I am doing is preventing that stu dent from trying again,” said Arrindell.

He teaches a lot about how much stereotypes can negatively impact a student and their capabilities, and he himself has created the habit of letting go of his own stereotypes of students he teaches, so that he is able to really benefit those kids. This is what makes him and his techniques incredibly unique and this is why many students, including the sophomores at Sedro Woolley High School, were drawn to him and were able to take in everything he was teaching.

Sophomore Peyton Holdt really took to his lecturing style and enjoyed being able to write about whatever he desired. He felt that more teachers need to be as personal as Arrindell was to his peers because he saw how positive of an experience it was for them.

“I’m the stereotype of the guy that talks in class and doesn’t get good grades but I don’t feel that I am like that,” said Holdt.
He enjoys writing and telling his own story through poetry, and hopes to have that be apart of his career someday. Holdt was willing to share a part of his poem with me that stated, “he forgets all the good times”.
Everyone, like Holdt, has their own stories to tell and expressing them in different forms of art helps in multiple ways and that is a reason why people are passionate about creating their own poems.

“Art is a tool for motivating or inspiring for our own individuality,” said Arrindell.
My suggestion to those reading, is to grab a pencil and a piece of paper, or two or three, leave all your insecurities behind and begin to write. I am sure you won’t regret it, and just like Arrindell said, “Each of us are more than what we do.”