Medicine for the Soul

Carson Borbely Awes Judges and Crowds with her Self-Inspired Poem “Medication”

Borbely poses at Gallup Park this year for her Senior portrait.
Borbely poses at Gallup Park this year for her senior portrait.

Seated at a booth in Espresso Royale, Carson Borbely grips a pen tightly, her hand hovering just inches above a fresh sheet of notebook paper. The smell of coffee wafts around the spacious shop, the hum of music just barely audible above the light chatter of other customers. As a current senior at Community High School, Borbely has been writing poetry since she was in the seventh grade, where she was first formally introduced to it. “My poetry in eighth grade was just atrociously bad, I mean really bad,” Borbely says with a laugh as she reflects upon those early poems. Though laughing, there is sincerity behind her words and pride in having come so far as a poet is evident.
Though runner up for the Community High School poetry slam the last two years, Borbely this year won first place. Along with five other poets from CHS, she moved along to compete at the City Slam, an event hosted by the Neutral Zone in downtown Ann Arbor. Though Borbely has loved poetry ever since she was first introduced to it in her seventh grade classroom, she never considered it as a viable career choice. Borbely’s winning of the CHS poetry slam opening her eyes to the possibility of pursuing a side career with poetry, though she clearly states that she does not intend to support herself with her poetry. Instead intending poetry to act as a creative backdrop in her life no matter where she goes or what she does.

Emotion and feelings back every word of Borbely’s writing, her hand driven to paper in an attempt to better work out the complications of her life. “You should never make your main source of passion in life your profession,” Borbely said. Through her poetry, Borbely finds a place for her to investigate her most conflicted feelings. Words enable her to move forward through tough decisions and times.

A realist in her views of the world, Borbely accepts the fact that she may never be able to support herself through her writing, as many are unable to no matter how talented they may be. The importance of poetry to Borbely makes her almost unwilling to try, not wanting to spoil her writing with something as messy as money.

Conflicting feelings drove Borbely to paper nearly five months ago, the words of “Medication” flying onto the paper and winning her the One Pause Emerging Poets contest. The poem, inspired by a struggle Borbely herself dealt with, explored an issue that she saw others around her struggling with as well as society as a whole. “People either overblow or underscore the importance of medication in terms of people’s mental health,” said Borbely, talking about the subject of her poem, her medication, which is also its namesake. When first writing “Medication,” Borbely was really trying to work her way through a subject she felt rather conflicted over, having no idea that it would go so far as to win her the title of an emerging poet. The writing of “Medication” helped Borbely wrap her head around her medication. It helped her reach this point she is at now— unashamed to call it her “little anchor.” Ultimately, Borbely sees the moderation of her mental health up to her and her own responsibility. Borbely’s poetry helps her evolve as a person and discover more about herself.

As Borberly continues on with poetry into the future, she hopes to at some point get a master’s in fine arts in poetry after college, but intends to minor in writing next year at Washington University. As Borbely seems to breathe poetry, she will continue to write long after college; poems like “Medication” gracing the world for years to come.

Borbely’s poem can be read on the Communicator site, filed under poetry.