A Conversation with LBCC Poet Laureate Sarah Prieto

Photo courtesy of Sarah Prieto

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “poetry”? You may think of a way of rhyming or maybe some famous authors you’ve heard of. For some people, poetry means a way to escape reality, to pour your heart out when you are feeling at your lowest or maybe even your highest. For some, it is a way of life.

Every Tuesday in LBCC’s Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the Poetry Club hosts their weekly meetings. In charge of those meetings is Poet Laureate Sarah Prieto, a freshman at LBCC. She is in charge of leading the weekly meetings and creating fun and creative events each term. In the past, she has put together a Valentine’s Day event where they had poetry workshops with different prompts and loads of snacks! They have had a table at the campus Welcome Day in the fall, Spring Extravaganza, and the Pride event.

This fall, Prieto hopes to put on an open mic night where guests can sing, recite poetry, or tell short stories. She wants to include published poets at the event as well. They are currently collaborating with the Creative Writing Club to come up with other fun events.

Where do you find your inspiration for your poems?

Some really terrible relationships with some crappy boys who broke my heart. I struggle a lot with my mental health so that is a big factor as well and plays a big part into my writing. I take a lot of inspiration from music from my favorite artists especially when I am in an inspired mood.

What made you start writing poems in the first place?

I started writing when I was 13. I was depressed and needed an outlet for my feelings. As the years went by, I got more depressed and wrote more about my feelings. I needed an outlet for my feelings in a healthy way and my therapists told me to start journaling but I cannot do a “dear diary” to save my life.

Do you think the poem should be read aloud or experienced silently on the page?

I think that it’s both because when reading a poem aloud it can have a different impact than when reading it on a page.

What’s the best advice someone has given you about writing poetry?

I had a teacher once tell me that I sucked at writing and reading poetry so it fueled me to keep writing and try to turn everything I go through into a form of art.

How often do you write poetry?

As often as I can, sometimes I go through months of writer’s block and can’t write more than two poems in a month. Other times I have so much inspiration that I can write ten-plus poems in a month. Some may take me a year, but sometimes I go back and adjust poems I wrote when I was 17.

What theme comes up frequently in your poems, and what poetic devices do you think you use most often?

A lot of heartbreak but also so much love. In the Poetry Club, I am known as “the love poet” because I write a lot about love because it is a beautiful thing to experience. I write a lot about mental health as well because I think that there needs to be more awareness and I want people to know they are not alone. As for poetic devices, I have been working with rhyming recently but I mostly use metaphors and personification because it is a beautiful idea to imagine yourself and your muse as flowers or the stars.

In what ways has your poetry changed since you started writing and do you often write your poetry for yourself or others?

I write for both. I write what I feel but I also let others interpret it the way based on how they feel because all poetry is contextual and so personal to each individual. My poetry grew up with me, it matured as I did. I still go back and edit some poems from when I first started writing but I always keep the originals to make sure I never forget where I started.

What have you been working on lately and what are you looking forward to?

I have been working on some fun events for the Poetry Club for the 2023-24 school year to share and highlight the beauty of poetry around campus. I have been working on some poetry to hopefully have some publishing opportunities. I am working on poetry that represents more of myself as a Latina poet and learning to embrace that side more often in my poetry and even writing in Spanish more often.

Is there a poet that has inspired some of your work?

When I was around 13 years old I discovered a poet named R.H. Sin and his amazing books that inspired me to write my feelings in a more poetic way instead of spilling out words on a paper and hoping it’s coherent. Another writer that I fell in love with was Rupi Kaur and I remember the excitement I felt walking into a Barnes & Noble to buy my first poetry book.

What has it been like as LBCC’s poet laureate?

Being the poet laureate is stressful at times because I am in charge of a lot of events and networking and as an introvert it gets hard but it also feels so rewarding to have accomplished this in my first year at LBCC. Down the road, I think it can help me to have more success in finding employment no matter what career I go into but I am looking forward to learning more about the opportunities this position can offer me over the next year. I do plan on writing books in my life but I know it isn’t always a stable career especially when starting out so I plan on becoming an English teacher and writing and publishing books on the side.

What is your favorite poem you’ve written?

I have two poems that I call sister poems because they reflect my struggles dealing with bipolar depression that are titled “this sounds better in my head” and “self-destruction”

At a Glance:

Sarah Prieto

Occupation: Student Poet Laureate at LBCC

Age: 21

Hometown: Palmdale, California

Former Education: Got her GED from LBCC

Education: English Major at LBCC, going towards her bachelor’s to be an English teacher.

Grade in LBCC: Freshman

Other Interests: Writing, reading, and Taylor Swift.

this sounds better in my head

i have sat in dark corners of every room i enter

i have reduced myself into an atom so i don’t take up too much space

i am always forced to make room for everyone else

“please don’t interrupt me” will not be heard from a mouth that’s taped shut

i should not have to prove myself to anyone

why am i trying so hard to prove myself to me?

the emotions in my head should be getting paid overtime but it’s too late

they all quit and i do not have a bing bong to take me to the moon

but i have cotton candy skies and my god they taste so good

there is so much to be said about me but nobody asks

when they do it’s an “are you okay?” and every time i lie

why tell anyone the truth if it’s not what they really want to hear?

my god, why does everyone call me boring?

when will my efforts be appreciated instead of my ego disintegrated?

i try and i try but it’s never enough

scientists say that our cells regenerate every seven years so,

it’s like they’ve never touched me

your fingerprints are tattoos that i must have gotten in my sleep

i didn’t think judgment day was so soon

but every day will be until i stop the world from burning

the weight of the world is on my shoulders but i can’t let it be a burden

maybe this sounds better in my head

but i need to say this out loud


you put me on a pedestal as if i was a goddess

would i be the product of life or destruction?

i try to walk the tightrope between it but i lose balance and my impact breaks the silence

the buildings are crumbling

the cities are burning

the people are yearning

all because i couldn’t stop hurting

maybe i’m to blame for it

others shouldn’t have to pay for it

maybe it is my fault that i cry

maybe if i didn’t lie the trust wouldn’t die

i loved you until i couldn’t breathe

from children to adults, we watched each other grow

and now we have to reap what we sow because we both let go

i thought that if i pushed hard enough, i could be the one that everybody loves

i thought that if i loved harder i wouldn’t have made everyone such a martyr

because i am their god but little do they know i’m just a fraud

i ruin everything i touch

sometimes i like the rush

i love because i enjoy the warmth of my blush

i didn’t ask to be put on this pedestal

but i will make my own way down

and hope you’ll learn that my perfection is miniscule

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