It's been an oddly solemn week. On Friday, I found out that my old friend Anna passed away at her home in Greenville, SC. Anna struggled a great deal with depression and mental illness and unfortunately, she took her own life.
Anna and I hadn't talked in over a year when I got the news. In August of 2009 she moved to New York City to begin her life as a professional poet with an MFA from Hunter College. But her sickness got the best of her, so she came home to South Carolina. Once she came home, our friendship fell between the cracks.
But for a few years of my life in Charleston, we were the best of friends. We met in a poetry class taught by Carol Ann Davis at the College of Charleston. I was immediately drawn to her air of sophistication and her great writing. Somehow, we exchanged numbers and hit it off--we started off, as many friends do, spending a lot of time at bars. But we had inspirational moments in our friendship as well. Anna was a wonderful poet, and a great poetry mentor. Her glamourous bookshelves were lined with dozens of volumes, which she happily shared with me. She'd even give me the ones she was finished with. She wasn't really forthcoming in sharing her own poems, but the ones I did see were honest and beautiful.
Right when I moved to Charleston in 2004 I lost my first poetic mentor, Dr. Paul Rice. It was Dr. Rice who first pushed me and my poetry. I took several classes with him during my undergraduate years and learned a lot from him inside the classroom and just by chatting and trading poems in his office. When he passed away, I felt like I'd never have another person to share my poetic journey. Then I met Anna.
It seems strange now that both of them are gone. While I have other friends who write poetry and spend a great deal of time with me, none of them quite take Anna or Dr. Rice's places. I try to take comfort in the memories I have of these two writers, and how they shaped my own confidence and philosophy as a writer. It's a fact that some of the world's best poets--most of them--are lost throughout time. We're lucky to meet a few, but most we never will meet. Because of Paul Rice and Anna Moore, I'll keep believing in my poems. And I'll keep reading poems by people who inspire me.