CONTENT WARNING: Contains descriptions of mental illness.

Ars Poetica: Just a Poem

Poetry, Image

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“Ars Poetica: Just a Poem” is a piece I wrote about the inability to focus on mental health while under the pressures of today’s working world. While touching on themes of resilience and growth, the poem also serves as a commentary on the fluidity of the word “just” in our language. My intention was to write a poem that displayed what difficulty might look like for an individual who is struggling to get through something heavier than their responsibilities and expectations.


Rose Butler-Shriner is a senior studying English with a concentration in creative writing and a cognate in public relations. She has worked for the Arts and Collections department as a Project Planning Intern since October 2022 and is working on an arts strategy called ‘ARTS4U.’ ARTS4U is an initiative that hosts a series of pop-up arts awareness events for students, by students. During her time as an intern, she has focused on bringing music and art into innovative and unique spaces on campus. This year, Rose co-founded MSU’s Creative Writing Club. As the Event Coordinator, she works to ensure the creative writing community reaches students from a wide variation of majors and engages in the creation of club activities and promotions. Rose is also on the editorial team for MSU’s literary magazine, the Red Cedar Review. During her time on the review, she has helped make decisions on which poetry submissions will be featured in Volume 59, as well as taking part in the paratext team. Rose has also worked for MSU Libraries since October 2021 and continues to work as a Library Assistant for the Art Library.


The Microgrant was an unexpected, helpful, and very fun part of this Fall semester. Being in my last year of college has come with a wide variety of responsibilities at a whole new level of pressure. I’m sure other students can agree when I say that it is rare to find a moment to truly pursue creative hobbies. With school-related, social, personal, and financial responsibilities, it can be challenging to even want to write at times. The Microgrant allowed for a decrease in financial stress, which led to an increase in time that I dedicated to creating the best version of this poem. MSU students have had an emotional few months, and I think this grant came at just the right time. Creating as a writer during COVID was an incredibly unimaginable and unique experience because we were gifted with the time to focus but burdened with a lack of inspiration. My writing comes from the inner workings of how I perceive experiences in my life, so being in a state where I felt I lacked material to write about was new. I found that since COVID, I have adopted new practices as well as a better understanding of creation in general. Writing and simply creating during COVID helped me realize that my work does not need to reflect profound moments- it can be about the monotony and ordinary that we experienced as we entered, and even exited the severity of the pandemic. This poem reflects just that; the monotony we go through in order to survive the flood. The Microgrant has not only offered great financial support, but also an opportunity to be proud of our work. I think future students can appreciate the grant because at such a busy stage of life, any financial support can help. CAL students are often pursuing creative endeavors inside and outside of the classroom, and being able to focus on our work is an opportunity we all look for. The CREATE! Microgrant can uplift future students to dedicate time to not only their work, but the best versions of their work.