Some aspiring writers take decades to get published. That’s not the case for one St. Mark’s sophomore. Gopal Raman has published his first volume of poetry, called Beyond the Edge.
“I started writing creatively in seventh grade, and I would compile a folder,” Raman said.
Raman is also a dedicated student of photography, which highly influenced his work.
“It just started as a side project I was working on in my spare time,” Raman said. “Most of [the poems] are nature-themed. A lot of times, the poem will complement the photo.”
To help combine these two passions, Raman turned to many of his teachers.
“By the time he got to me, he had already had conversations with other instructors and had done quite a bit of writing,” ninth-grade English teacher Scott Gonzalez said. “One of his poems ‘El Mar/La Mar’ was actually written on a conversation in our class concerning Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.”
Gonzalez continued reviewing more of Raman’s poems, and helping him identify his own strengths in writing. Finally, Raman attended a summer writing program at Sewanee University of the South.
“I know that helped him in his technique and his editing skills, and his reading and writing skills as well,” Gonzalez said. “He has some real insight and some real talent.”
And though Raman clearly has a talent for writing and photography, his interests are by no means limited. He’s also very interested in the sciences and may continue that passion by the time college rolls around.
“I really love biology and science,” Raman said. “I can definitely see myself doing something with maybe medicine or technology.”
But with all this talent comes quite a level of humility.
“The goal of the book isn’t really to sell copies,” Raman said. “It’s more to compile my work and see what it would look like. It was mostly a personal project.”
In fact, Raman is dedicating any proceeds from the book to Gooch Elementary School, where he volunteers as a mentor and tutor. With the $10 copies, he was able to raise more than $1,500 for the school.
“I won’t call him a ‘renaissance man’ quite yet,” Gonzalez said. “I’ll call him a ‘renaissance youth.’”
For more information and to read an excerpt from his new book, visit Gopal Raman’s poetry blog.