Gayatri Rajan ’22 cannot remember a time when she hasn’t been obsessed with writing. Beginning with Haikus and Limericks in the second grade, Rajan’s writing has diversified and has gone on to be recognized by Creative Minds Imagine magazine, Best in Teen Writing 2017, the National Council of Teachers of English, Creative Kids, Write the World, Eunoia Review, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, all of which are distinct honors that demonstrate her passion and skill in her craft.
Rajan started to become more involved in poetry in the 5th grade after being inspired to describe more about her personal life and struggles. Additionally, she uses writing as a way to collaborate with others, such as through clubs at Andover including the Courant and the Tavern, an inter-boarding-school literary magazine.
“Poetry is just the form for me that allows me to work on those short bursts of really impactful writing… [The writing clubs at Andover] give me opportunities to work with other students on their craft and their writing. That’s always really rewarding,” said Rajan.
Currently Rajan works on the board for the Andover’s Writing Alliance (AWA), edits for the Courant, and runs the Andover chapter of the Tavern. William Leggat ’20, a friend and a fellow member of both the AWA and Courant has seen first hand how Rajan pushes her writing not only through pursuit of the craft but also finding avenues to showcase her work.
“What sets Gayatri apart from other writers — especially writers our age — is that she’s thinking about what she can do with her writing. She’s great at marketing herself, at reaching out to publications, at editing. She’s putting as much effort into developing skill in all the non-literary aspects of the field as she is into the writing itself,” said Leggat.
Rajan is also an avid personal reader, looking up to the works of Richard Blanco, Mary Oliver, Dorian Lo, Adrienne Rich, Billy Collins, as well as Ted Kooser, whose book, “The Poetry Home Repair Manual,” inspired her dive into the art of poetry. She also claims that becoming an editor has changed both how she writes and how she thinks about writing, specifically the impact it has on a reader.
“Reading the work of other poets, I read in two dimensions. I read both as a writer and just as a reader. When I’m reading as a reader, I’m looking for stuff that actually makes me think of my own life, stuff that makes me think of what’s going on around me. When I’m reading as a writer, I’m looking at the craft. So, I read in both perspectives,” said Rajan.
Rajan continued, “You start to think about what is this poem trying to evoke in a reader… I started to think about my audience—like the impact this poem could have—and what if this poem actually educated someone? What if this poem showed someone something really important about their lives?”
Rajan continues to write poetry, and is currently working on several small collections of work called chapbooks. She publishes about the different homes we make for ourselves.
“This is the first one that’s thematically connected in terms of poetry, so all of it interpolates from each other and plays off of each other and changes its mind throughout the course of the chapbook so it’s really interesting,” said Rajan.