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A Prize Winning Poem Turned Tattoo

Avonlea, a Freshman at UNCG, knows what inspires her. She not only read and enjoyed The Greensboro Review’s Spring 2012 issue in her English 105 class, but tattooed the first two lines of Jill Osier’s Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem “To Have Been On Fire” onto her shoulder. We at The Greensboro Review thought this was so cool that we went to meet her.

A friend of Avonlea's designed her tattoo.

We sat down at the Starbucks on campus. Avonlea brought her copy of The Greensboro Review, keeping a thumb between the pages where Jill’s poem appears. Referring to “To Have Been on Fire” Avonlea explained that after reading the poem, the lines haunted her the rest of the day. That afternoon, attending a university-sponsored talk given by Doc Hendley, his message about passion seemed related to the poem and the message to Avonlea seemed clear: Stay strong.

The poem begins, “The mind goes, eventually, / where it needs to go. As does the body.” Avonlea paraphrased these lines beautifully for us as: “Let the body follow where the mind’s passions have led us.” and after recently breaking free from an abusive relationship, that’s just what Avonlea aims to do. Committing to Jill’s words so unflinchingly makes us believe that this young woman is bound to think and act passionately for a long time to come.

In fact, she seems to come from a family with a track record of being motivated by what inspires them. Avonlea’s parents passionately pursue their goals. Her mother is currently on a six-month long trip to Africa with the NGO Save the Children, and her father is the founder of a non-profit that works to improve children's access to crucial mental health services.

Thanks, Avonlea, for sharing with us, and we hope all of our readers are as inspired by the written word.