Hernandez represents Texas in national poetry contest

He’s only 15 years old and now a published poet.

Eric Hernandez’s poem, “Light In The Darkness,” was selected by the Poetry Society of Texas from thousands of entries to represent Texas in a national contest.

The Frenship High School sophomore’s poem won the President’s Prize and is published in an anthology titled “A Celebration of Poets – 2009.”

He said it took him more than two weeks to finish writing his poem, about waiting for his father to return home from prison. He was told his dad was returning home a couple of times, and when it didn’t happen he was inspired to write the poem.   

“The reason I wrote it was because of all the past problems I’ve been through … they really influenced me a lot,” said Hernandez “Poetry, to me, is a gateway to your imagination that opens the door to your mind. As long as I have a pen and paper, I’m pretty much going to write.”

His father was in prison for 10 years and was released just before New Year’s. He now lives on the same property with Hernandez, who grew up with his grandparents because his mother lives in Michigan. He said he has a very close relationship with his mother even though she lives far away.

It was hard not having his father around growing up, said Hernandez, but he had the rest of his family around for support.

“My grandparents were always here through everything, even when I’m in trouble,” he said.

Poetry is how Hernandez expresses his feelings because he said he tends to keep his emotions bottled up. He loves poems because you can write about anything he said, even a banana. It’s the best way he knows to express himself.

Hernandez doesn’t consider himself a studious person, but he enjoys theater. He said he’s surprised at the dedication he can put into a poem. In order to write his poetry, he has to devote time to nothing else but writing and must be able to sit and put whatever he’s thinking onto paper.

He thinks “Light In The Darkness” was received well by the judges because he left it open to interpretation.

Hernandez is involved in theater at Frenship High School and said they write haikus and other poems in that class.

Writing poetry is encouraged in Hernandez’s theater class because it is the best way to begin writing plays, said his theater teacher, Tony Sidwell. He’s known Hernandez for two years and is excited to see what else he accomplishes.

“I think he’s a very creative person,” said Sidwell. “He has a great future ahead of him.”

In his free time, Hernandez enjoys skateboarding and would love to be a professional skateboarder.

He’s not sure if he’ll go to college but knows he wants to be a volunteer firefighter when he’s old enough.

“I like fire,” said Hernandez. “I really want to save someone’s life or even a cat or just a building.”

Hernandez plans on spending this summer skateboarding and on his family’s ranch in Brownwood. He also hopes to go to Michigan to see his mother and what he considers his “second family.”

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