Adya Chatterjee ’22 began writing poetry in third grade, producing pieces striking to her teacher for their distinct melancholic nature. It wasn’t until she discovered poetry’s power from slam and spoken word poetry that she became inspired to continue writing as a poet.
“My teacher commented on how all my poems are very sad … [I wrote] ‘I would throw salt on marshmallows and watch them dissolve like slugs’ … I think seeing people [perform] their poems was kind of what inspired me to write poems and embody my own [poetry],” said Chatterjee.
Chatterjee found that poetry allowed her to voice herself and explore her identity. Hailing from Singapore, Chatterjee has also addressed new topics since coming to Andover.
“I think what Andover has given me is the chance to explore new issues I never really thought about voicing before. Things that I viewed as issues back home in Singapore aren’t the same issues I see at Andover, and it’s opened my eyes to some extent,” said Chatterjee.
Chatterjee channels her anger from these issues into poetry, especially her frustrations when opinions are censored because they don’t conform to the norms or culture. She is currently working on a poem with Amour Ellis ’22 to vent her outrage for the people silenced at Andover and throughout the world.
“When you’re at Andover, it’s the Andover bubble. And if you say something or believe in something that necessarily threatens that bubble, or is too much effort to change, those voices are marginalized … Andover needs to step up and make sure that voices are being heard, and that it’s okay to challenge the bandwagon’s opinion,” said Chatterjee.
According to Jada Aryee ’22, a friend of Chatterjee, feedback and advice are critical parts of Chatterjee’s writing process. She strongly values different people’s perspectives and comments on her poetry, and she often voices her poetry to better communicate its message.
“She’s really determined to get feedback and know what other people think of the poetry and if they understand it… She also likes to read aloud, just to add emotion into her writing and to make sure it makes sense. I think it’s really important how the way that she says the words and puts emotion into everything [helps other people] understand more of what she’s writing,” said Aryee.
While she continues to explore new themes and perspectives, Chatterjee’s honest, melancholic voice has persisted throughout her poetry. In a poem titled “Are We Even Real,” she highlights learning about the generational hardships faced by her mother and grandmother, and extends themes of love to all those unvoiced.
“I write a lot about my family [in the poem], and I do write about empowerment and love in general. [I write about] the fact that even though we don’t necessarily connect with people, I don’t see everybody, [and] I don’t understand them, but somewhere deep down, there’s something that will make sure I never give up on those people,” said Chatterjee.