Article by Nadia Kaczkowski | Photography by John Parks | Owl Staff
A retired Army colonel, Ph.D Physicist, aspiring novelist and poet may seem like an unusual combination, but Mark Melanson, an English Major at HCC, completes the trifecta. He affirms, “I am about as ‘non-traditional’ a student as you get!” As nontraditional as he may be, he is nothing short of spectacular.
Melanson has had three of his poems published in the Fall 2013 issue of East Fork Journal, which is a student literary journal of Clermont College, University of Cincinnati. The three published poems were all created during Melanson’s time in HCC Professor Colleen Webster’s poetry classes. Melanson shares, “This practice has been very helpful in getting into the groove of routinely writing poetry and enhancing the poems that I have come up with.”
Melanson explains, “I have always wanted to be a writer ever since I was in second grade. A visiting poet came to my elementary school and read a haiku I wrote; he told me I should keep writing poetry.” He deferred those dreams until the summer of 2013, when he retired after 30 years and decided to enroll in classes at HCC.
His goal was to eventually pursue his graduate studies in poetry and fiction. “The story of how I came to enroll in poetry classes here at HCC is an interesting one: I am currently writing a novel; a murder mystery. The serial killer in my book is female and she leaves clues in poetry. Hence, I decided to take a poetry class here at HCC in January of last year,” Melanson recalls. Since he hadn’t written poetry for several decades, Melanson decided to take Poetry I with Professor Webster.
Upon completing the first course and rediscovering his love and admiration for poetry, he has subsequently taken Poetry II and Poetry III as well. “My inspiration for my poems comes from a lot of different places,” says Melanson. “Some arise from reading poems of published poets and doing apprentice poems based upon their styles. Others come from life experiences, present and past. Some just come to me based upon things that happen or things that I see or feel.”