Poet Laureate 2008 - Matthew Kenyon

His poem entitled "First Taste of Hell" was chosen as the winning poem by the North Harris College Poet Laureate selection committee. Kenyon is a native of Texas who has had two high tech careers, first as an electronics technician and later as a network messaging engineer. Following a re-location to Houston, he changed careers and began course work at Kingwood College, receiving an AA degree in liberal Arts in December of 2007.

Kenyon felt formal education was unnecessary while he was in high school, but later felt that despite successes in his first two careers that he had cheated himself by not getting a degree. After beginning his academic career at Kingwood, he realized that he enjoyed exploring creative mediums. Kenyon's family had included many creative people and prior to attending college he felt like he had been passed over in that area. Since enrolling in community college he has begun to draw, act, and write. He wrote his first poem "First Taste of Hell" in August and has written over forty poems since then, using poetry to process both his past and current personal and spiritual changes that he has made in his life.

Currently he is enrolled in Design Communication, and is considering pursuing a degree in psychology.

Below is Kenyon's winning poem.

First Taste of Hell

"Either strike me down or make me well!"

I screamed at God again.

Death came for me that Thanksgiving.

His pull was soft and comfortable,

yet as sure and unrelenting as gravity itself.

I was pulled awake and not only could I not scream

-I was completely frozen.

The effort I expended to climb out of that well,

did not make me breathe hard or move a thing.

It was intangible, as any feeling truly is.

Somehow I won my freedom, I got away.

For hours I gagged, screamed, and cried;

the taste of sulfur hung in my throat for days.

Now that I stand here before you smiling,

It is time to get busy living.

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