David Axelrod Revs Up ODA


Are you poetic? If so, hopefully you talked to David Axelrod, a poet who truly loves writing and describing an experience through words. Axelrod says, “I try to make poetry not seem so bad. I walk into the classroom and want to spark internet in the students.” Axelrod earned his Bachelors of Art degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and  a Masters of Arts Degree from the Johns Hopkins. Today Axelrod considers himself a “frustrated stand up comedian,” who became a poet as a backup plan.

The Mural

The mural slides over the wall

with reds, blacks, greens, blues

in swirls that send some secret

message. Red-eyed, long-fanged

monsters open their mouths

to swallow two doors that lead

to where? This is not graffiti.

School administrators approved

the project, forgetting how spray

paint, applied profusely in small

spaces, can make students duly

woozy. Who knew what wild

urges would be set free?

Luckily, the narrow corridor

is an area less traveled, so

parents are less likely to see. ”

— David Axelrod

This past Monday and Tuesday, David Axelrod came to talk to ODA sophomores and freshman, and converse with ODA’s aspiring student writers. The English Department wanted to have an artist on campus who could work with students. When the Parent Association heard the English Department’s wish, they invited the English Department to find the perfect person who they agreed to sponsor.  Through some online research and referrals, the Department found David Axelrod who has written many volumes of poetry covering topics from the time he got his tonsils removed and his first day of school to looking at clouds with his youngest daughter.

Axelrod shares his passion of poetry by stating his strategy of writing. He says that he takes his notebook everywhere and just simply observes people. He shared an example with Mrs. Armor’s sophomores English class. He said he was stuck in traffic one day, and couldn’t use his phone. He popped out his little notepad, and began observing. The woman in the car next to him was panicking, and yelling at the people around her. His notes eventually became a poem. Axelrod reminded students that anything can become a poem.

In long period classes, Axelrod asked students to close their eyes. During this time, he told the students to relax and try to think of the moment when their lives were changed. Then, once the students thought of the moment, he told them to write it down with great detail. Axelrod says that this is the way he manages to capture a moment.

“It’s always good to talk to people who were excellent in their field. It’s good to listen to writers. Writing is important. Each of us should be a writer,” says Literature teacher, Mrs. Armor.

His favorite book is “Love in the Keys,” which he wrote himself. He likes this book because “It’s not all hearts and flowers, but about two people falling in love.” Axelrod says he has fallen in love three times at the keys, with girlfriends and finally with one who became his wife.

Axelrod has had a great impression of ODA. He likes that “we seem pretty smart, and everyone is nice”. He also comments that he doesn’t see violence, as we leave things out in the open, and hasn’t noticed any theft.

While on campus, Axelrod wrote about the newly painted mural on the upstairs wall in the Arts Building.

During his time on campus, student writers were able to converse with him about their own work and the creative process.  Students were inspired to write more poetry of their own, remember and describe old memories, and even read more poetry.

Thank you, David Axelrod, for coming to ODA!