Devon Balwit

The Invitation was inspired by a news story about a private school teacher who was systematically preying on his teenaged students. This type of seduction by an older man of younger women is familiar. I wanted to explore, however, how it often succeeds not only or because of male blandishment, but because of the nature of being a teenager, unhappy in one’s skin, uncertain about the future, frustrated by one’s seemingly limited options. I remember well being the age of the girl in the story and wanting to test out my sexuality and see if it could offer a means of exiting the confines of my suburban prison. Desire and the exploration of that desire carried a mix of shame and thrill.

Regarding my process–I write daily and about everything: art, science, politics, literature, music. I love using the news as a jumping off point because it takes me out of my known world. It shakes me up. When it does intersect with my own experience, I often have to work even harder to make the poem artful.