Poet Laureate is an honor that is bestowed upon the poet of the given area who is expected to compose poems for special events and occasions. This person is usually appointed by government or a designated arts group. In the Bucks County area our very own English teacher, Mrs. Gutter was selected for the fresh and original voice present in her intensely crafted poems.
“I was surprised and honored to get this type of recognition,” said Mrs. Gutter. She has been reading and writing poetry since the very moment she could start--around the age of four. It started just as a form of expression, but as she kept writing it became very rewarding to her to use the language in such a way.
Mrs. Gutter found her greatest inspiration and influence in the poets Mary Oliver and Pablo Neruda. Neruda was a politically active writer from Chile whose poems she found just beautiful. Oliver wrote about the beauty and simplicity of nature, another topic Mrs. Gutter enjoyed as a child and enjoys now as an accomplished poet in her own right. We interviewed her before her first official reading was on Sunday, Nov. 17, and she was very forthcoming about what she was thinking about.
“My reading this weekend, getting through that,” she said during a Thursday interview, but the award was definitely a good push to get her work out there and to start publishing. “I always thought I would just write when I got older.”
She was surprised to receive such an honor so early on in her career, but she is eager to take up the challenge. With such great talent Mrs. Gutter could have easily pursued a writing career, but to her “it just didn’t seem realistic.” She loves teaching, and it allows her to continue writing. “Teaching doesn’t feel completely separate from writing,” she said.
“I tried to capture moments that stuck out as meaningful or beautiful,” Mrs. Gutter said of the series of ten poems she selected to enter the competition.
One memory was of the birth of her nephew, while the other was of the time a man jumped in front of the train she was traveling on.
“I like my poems to be sad, funny, beautiful, and true all at once. That is my goal.”
Her many students at New Hope-Solebury High School are very proud of her. Mrs. Gutter “is a fun, creative, and inspirational teacher.” said Katie Steele, a freshman. Nicole Martin told us, “She pushes us to think deeply and expand our thought process. She’s always creative in how she goes about teaching us new things.” It is truly a rare experience to have someone with such high honors as a teacher, but all of us here at NHS are very fortunate to have this experience.
As for Mrs. Gutter’s reading this past Sunday, it went very well, and she seemed very pleased when talking about it with students.
Mrs. Gutter also wanted to tell young and aspiring poets to read. “Read as much good poetry as you can. That is where you learn by seeing others skills.”
She also extolled the value of working with others. You can learn so much from your fellow poets.
From everyone at New Hope-Solebury High School, Congratulations Mrs. Gutter!