A recent August 2008 West Chester University Grad, Kate Perelman, recently had a poem published online. The Swarthmore Literary Review published Perelman’s piece titled, “The Kimono,” inspired by a hobby of hers, collecting kimonos.At a very young age, Perelman’s parents read to her all the time. She then began reading early, and writing at the age of 10 years old.
At that time, Perelman would write about ponies with a soak opera type life. While in high school she did a lot of creative writing and writing satires.
While in eighth grade Perelman’s PSAT and English scores qualified her to take a Johns Hopkins writing course online.
A mentor would assign her writing, which Perelman would complete and then send back for feedback. While writing about all different topics throughout her life, “The Kimonos” truly had a special space in her heart.
Perelman enjoys bidding on kimonos on EBay. She likes different kimonos for their shape and finds them very pretty. In her college apartment, Perelman had one kimono, a red one with flowers, hanging on her wall.
This kimono had longer sleeves, meaning it was meant for younger Japanese women who were not yet married. It is thought that the wind will blow through the sleeves of the young Japanese woman. The sleeves would flutter in the wind and catch the eye of a boy who you would then marry. Hence, older women have shorter sleeves on their kimonos.
Perelman’s poem is about a bride wearing her long sleeved kimono for one last time. The poem ends with the bride’s kimono hanging on the wall, but it’s hanging on someone else’s wall.
Ellen Wehle, a former West Chester University professor, had Perelman in class and ended up helping her edit her poem. Perelman sent Professor Wehle a really early form of the poem. Together they decided how to arrange “The Kimono” so that it may be published.
Dr. Shevlin, another one of her WCU professors, sent e-mails to all English majors regarding things such as poetry readings, portfolio due dates and information about a Literature Review Magazine that was looking for submissions.
Figuring she did not have anything to lose, Perelman began sending her poem in. She sent it in all year long, sometimes getting a rejection letter and other times, not getting any response at all.
After her trip to China with WCU, earlier in the summer of 2008, Perelman checked her phone and listened to a message stating “The Kimono” was being published.
Perelman had her first poem published in Teen Inc. It is a magazine dedicated to poetry.
She is currently working in retail, but constantly looking for a job in the editing world. Perelman wants to keep writing, but to have a job where she can read others’ work while at the same time, writing her own.
Perelman is currently writing in her free time. She hears a lot of stories from customers at work, revealing everything about themselves to a complete stranger.
Perelman admitted that at times she feels like a therapist. Kids come up to her, giving her a complete thesis of how to kill zombies. Grandparents tell her how their grandchildren are deadbeats. She learns about deaths in families as customers are searching for black shoes to wear to funerals. Some of these things inspire Perelman’s writing now.
Much of the writing she does, such as “The Kimono” has been created based on her travels. Not only did Perelman visit China this past summer, but she has also been to Israel. In her junior year at West Chester, she studied abroad for a semester in Scotland.
Perelman gives advice to current West Chester students that want to write to, “Just keep writing. You’ll fall out of habit if you don’t continue to write. Sometimes you find something good. Hopefully then you can find someone good and kind who can help you with your writing.”
She went on to say that with creative writing it’s important to get someone who you trust to tell you the truth. Seriously consider every bit of advice they give you, because they’re speaking with wisdom.
Dr. Wehle took the time to look at what Perelman had written. She gave her helpful hints, pointers, and Perelman only hopes that she can work together with Dr. Wehle again some day. Perelman’s poem happened at the right place and the right time. Perelman stated that, “all knowledge is good knowledge. All advice is good to have, just add your own taste to it”.
Jackie Aliotta is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in business, techinical writing, and Spanish. She can be reached at JA609350@wcupa.edu