John Orr has an obsession for words

John+Orr+in+Target+holding+a+stuffed+Winnie+the+Pooh

Sydney Race

John Orr in Target holding a stuffed Winnie the Pooh

Sophomore John Orr has not missed a game of Wordle since he started playing.

Every day, he finds himself on the website, trying to come up with the selected five-letter word in the least amount of guesses possible. 

So far, John is undefeated, though he has occasionally come close to losing with words like “wrung.” 

His excitement over Wordle came further back in his life when he played other word games with his mom, and with this love for word games came a love for the English language itself. 

“I’m just really obsessed with words in general and language and communication,” John said. 

As he grew up from the word game-loving child he was, he never left that part of his life behind, as can be seen from his passion for Wordle. However, he continued to grow it and shape it into what it is now. 

In fifth grade, John was given a project to make a poetry book. It was one of his first introductions to poetry, and he quickly came to find joy in that style of writing. 

After that project, he continued to write. John dove in deep to all things poetry: reading, writing, and analyzing. His favorite part out of the three, though, is writing. 

“I just like making my own stuff,” John said. “I enjoy making my own stories. I would just rather do things than watch someone else’s doing.”

Despite him liking to write more, John still enjoys reading others’ works and finding inspiration in what he reads. The poet who has given him the most motivation is Sylvia Plath.

“She touches on a lot of serious topics that a lot of people can relate to,” John said, “so it’s kind of comforting in a weird way.”

His favorite poem is her most famous, and one of the heavier ones she has written: “Lady Lazarus.” It is about her life and struggles and the times she felt the lowest. The depth she uses and the emotional connection she receives from the readers is what captivates John.

He uses her stories as inspiration often and finds new nuances in each poem. 

“I remember I found one of her books on my parents’ bookshelf a year or two ago,” John said. “It was Ariel, which is her most famous collection of poems, published shortly following her death. I had never read poetry that spoke so much to me before. All of her poetry is very raw and confessional, which really appealed to me. Ever since, I’ve just been a really huge fan. I’d definitely say she’s my role model in a lot of ways.”

Not only does he have famous poets and word games to thank for his love of poetry, but he also has someone he knows on a more personal level.

Ken George, his Honors English 10 teacher, has been teaching the sophomores how to become a better writer, including in a better poetry writer, throughout the year. John has learned much from him and is continually thankful for what he has been learning.

“All-in-all,” John said, “I feel as though taking [Honors English 10] has made me much more passionate and knowledgeable about the craft of writing in general.”

I would just rather do things than watch someone else’s doing.”

— John Orr

So, from his fifth grade teacher who introduced him to poetry, to his current teacher who is strengthening and fine-tuning his techniques, John has had numerous people help him become the writer he is. 

He finds writing important and an art that not only is beautiful to read, but is a means of self-expression. 

“I mostly try to write poems that evoke a certain emotion,” John said. “Usually, I just write poems that express however I feel or whatever I’ve been going through. Probably the most important aspect of writing in my eyes is self-expression and having a message you want to send.”

 

“Precipice” by John Orr

 

Night-clouds cast their

Pall over the land——

How they swallow each star:

Encased in the pale splendor

 

Of the behemoth moon.

Cinnamon leaves drip and

Hang on dew of daylight’s 

Rain

 

Like prisoners held down

By the weight of their

Shackled chains——

Little burning Salem witches.

 

Tonight,

The air anchors low to

Coat the Autumn blooms;

To coat my skin in its

 

Indrawn breath.

So, I walk:

Arriving at the great

Precipice of a forest wall,

 

Gazing at the sugar-burned

Oaken obelisks plunging

Through the pitiless

Vault of the sky.

 

Through the woods, I saw,

Stood a path that outstretched

Far into the potent black,

Untouched by all light.

 

And into it,

I walked.