Dr. Paden Gives Old Words New Meaning

by Ashley Miller

Inspiration can come from unusual places, as Spanish professor Jeremy Paden learned. Paden will have his poem “Ars Poetica” published in the Atlanta Review this coming fall.

Paden said that his moment of inspiration for the poem came last April when he was reading “Winnie the Pooh” to his daughter. In the course of reading, he stumbled upon a line spoken by the character Eeyore.

The depressed donkey says, “They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.”

Paden said it was in that moment he realized poems were almost exactly the same way.

“Poems are like accidents,” Paden said. “You never know you have one until you’re writing one.”

Dr. Jeremy Paden will have his latest poem published in the 2010 issue of Atlanta Review.

It was shortly after this epiphany that Paden found the words to write his own poem. “Ars Poetica” is a Latin term that means “the art of poetry.” Paden is not the first to pen verses to this title; the earliest known authors include Horace and Aristotle. However, Paden’s poem puts a new perspective on the age-old theme, speaking directly to the hearts of those suffering from writer’s block.

Paden shared that the images in the poem “play irreverently with tradition” and that “each stanza explores the writing process.” The poem ends with the idea that writing comes out of life experiences and through encountering nature.

Paden then submitted the finished poem to the Atlanta Review. Having once been an assistant professor at Georgia State University, which is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Paden was familiar with the magazine and felt that his poem would fit with the work typically submitted.

On Dec. 19, 2009, Paden received an acceptance letter. He shared that the feeling was “absolutely indescribable.”

“You really can’t believe that what you’ve written is appreciated by someone else,” Paden said.

Paden has had three acceptances and five rejections, which is actually a promising start for a poet who has just begun submitting. Paden has had two other poems accepted for publication, entitled “Prayer of a Righteous Man” and “On A Quipu.” The latter has already been printed in issue No. 33 of the literary magazine Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. Paden began submitting his poetry less than a year ago, although he has been writing his whole life.

Paden has also taught Colonial Mexican Poetry and Contemporary Latin American Literature. Born in Milan, he has lived in Nicaragua, Louisiana and Georgia, often drawing upon these exotic locales for his writing.

To all aspiring writers, Paden offers this advice: “Write down your ideas, then begin editing, cutting, and revising. The real work of writing is the work of editing.”

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