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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Mercer Artist: Poet Kate Lemon is writing about you

Kate Lemon started writing poetry in November of 2018.
Kate Lemon started writing poetry in November of 2018.

Kate Lemon wasn’t a poet until her freshman year of college. She started writing at the request of late Mercer professor and Guggenheim Fellow Anya Silver after turning in an essay for her introductory poetry class.

Lemon said she has since “fallen in love” with poetry, drawing inspiration from nature, her own life and the lives of those around her.

“There’s a quote I saw on Pinterest and it was like, ‘if you think I’m writing about you, I am,’” Lemon said. “I liked that a lot.”

Loving poetry came as a surprise to her.

“A lot of it can be hard and complex and hard to understand, so sometimes it’s frustrating,” Lemon said.

Silver’s encouragement inspired Lemon to start reading more poetry, and soon writing her own.

“I always felt like I thought things and then I would never write them down, I would just be like, ‘oh, that’s an interesting thought,’” Lemon said. “At the time I was like, ‘okay, yeah, sure, I’ll do it,’ and then I ended up with an English minor.”

At first, Lemon only shared her poems with her mom, whom she calls her “biggest fan.” She started sharing work on Instagram in April after a conversation with her roommate, who told her not to wait any longer.

“Even now, every time before I post I’m like, ‘I don’t even think this is really that good,’” Lemon said. “Even if it’s not that great, this is how I felt at 20 years old, this is how I’m writing at 20 years old.”

Lemon’s most recent post, titled, “A poem to congress from an advocate of the metastatic breast cancer community,” was inspired by her trip to Washington, D.C. with Mercer professor Andrew Silver for Silver’s “IV,” a play about metastatic breast cancer.

“The poem was just kind of about my experience and kind of how I felt being there and going on Capitol Hill and talking to the senator aids and kind of getting angry and fired up about it,” she said.

Lemon said she isn’t trying to turn poetry into a profession. For now, poetry is a side hobby.

“It’s just kind of therapeutic and stuff and helps me process my emotions,” Lemon said. “If it becomes a profession that would be pretty cool, but I don’t know.”


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