University of Maine alumnus Megan Ashe has submitted three pieces of poetry to the new “Maine Canvas” initiative. The “Maine Canvas” is an online art space for students to submit pieces of their choice to an online portfolio on the Maine campus website.

Ashe recently graduated from UMaine last December with a major in English and minors in political science and legal studies. Currently, she works in Bangor at a daycare. While at UMaine, she was involved with the Maine campus and its campus.

Ashe is also the poetry editor for The Open Field, an undergraduate literary publication of UMaine’s Department of English. Students can submit their poetry work and any kind of creative writing to this publication.

The first poem Ashe submitted for the “Maine Canvas” is titled “Night’s Fling.”

“[In class] we were asked to write a poem using a vowel,” Ashe said. “I put it together like a puzzle using the letter ‘I’, deciding which words would work together.”

“I wrote about how when you go out to places and see couples on their first dates or people dancing together, how do they feel in the morning?” As he says. ” Or now ? How do people initially feel when they meet? Are they thinking about the future or just now? It’s written from a hazy point of view. It’s also in first person because I was trying to use the letter “I”.

Ashe is well versed in poetry, as she did with her primary cornerstone. When writing her poems, she begins by writing what she feels before going back and editing the structure and organization of the stanzas.

“I usually start with how I feel and not how to organize the poem,” Ashe said. “I write with my feelings then I edit them by coming back to them and formalizing them. I always feel like I could add more to my work, so [“Night’s Fling”] is the most recent of several of its versions. I’ve been working on this poem for a year or two.

The second poem Ashe submitted is titled “She’s Not a Number Say Her Name”.

This poem was also originally an assignment given in one of her undergraduate English classes, where she was tasked with writing a poem where you have to say someone’s name.

“I was inspired watching ‘Athlete A’ on Netflix about gymnastics’ sexual assault issues in the United States,” Ashe said. “Furthermore, I am passionate about women’s rights and the #MeToo movement. You always see statistics rather than the names of individual people. It all comes down to a number, and every time you search for SA [sexual assault] on the Internet, it’s about numbers, not people.

Ashe drew from these statistics, including naming famous people in the poem.

“‘Redacted’ symbolizes those who are considering reporting what happened but are unsure or want to remain anonymous,” Ashe said. “It’s to show support for those who aren’t ready to share their story but are just as important. The structure of the poem resembles court filing documents.

The red open parentheses in Ashe’s poem were chosen because she believes the people in her poem are not victims, but rather strong. She felt that no words could fully describe how strong they are. Parentheses allow readers to interpret or put the word as they see fit. For Ashe, no words did him justice.

The latest poem submitted by Ashe is titled “The Kind of Poetry I Want”.

In one of her undergraduate English classes, Ashe read a poem by Hugh MacDiarmid, a Scottish poet who wrote a poem of the same name. The assignment was to study and analyze MacDiarmid’s poem and be inspired to create a similar poem. She decided to make it into a piece that represented everything she would want to see in her ideal poem.

“This poem is a list that highlights what I appreciate about my own writing,” Ashe said. “I started writing when I felt sad, overwhelmed or anxious to know how to handle it. I would sit down and write. Poetry is a way to turn a bad situation or a bad feeling into something beautiful It turns negativity into a feeling of productivity. Don’t fear your craziness. Take all those feelings and turn them into something beautiful. Take advantage of past experiences and turn them into something inspiring.

As Ashe continues on a different career path and creating poetry as a hobby lately, she is still pursuing opportunities to bring her work to the public.

“Before, I thought I wanted to be an English teacher, but I decided that was more something I wanted to keep as a hobby,” Ashe said. “I think it’s more meaningful to me and I do it how I feel. I would like to continue to distribute my work and continue to publish in smaller presses. I would like to publish a book of poetry… compile and cut poems into a little book that people can buy. Right now, I’m just looking to find more inspiration to write in my life.

These beautifully crafted poems were created with the help of Ashe’s supportive teachers in the UMaine English Department who brought her to where she is today.

“I want to thank all of my former teachers,” Ashe said. “They really inspired me to learn more and continue to love writing. I love the UMaine English department and appreciate everything they have taught me.