Freshman’s unsung songs turn to published poetry

Courtesy of Abby Lanzelotti | Kamis' poetry grapples with themes of young love, heartbreak, self-worth and growth, making his writing relatable to all audiences.

by Capri Scarcelli | a&e editor

Feb. 24, 2022

With contemporary poetry taking the media by storm in recent years, young aspiring authors are taking advantage of the opportunities before them to build a platform for themselves — including freshman Andrew Kamis. 

The English education major’s self-published poetry book, “If Only You Would Listen” tells the vulnerable tales of young love and its hardships.  Accompanied with illustrations on every page turn, Kamis creates a reading experience that immerses the audience in more ways than one.  Over 150 pages in length, Kamis’ collection of poetry shows a sense of maturity and self-growth in finding one’s worth after the pain of heartbreak. 

“This book is inspired by what I’ve been through, and I hope it will inspire other people going through similar situations to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kamis said. “I went through a bad relationship in high school, and so [this book] represents how I was feeling at the time: unimportant and not listened to.” 

Kamis’ first introduction to creative writing was a short story he wrote for his mother at 5-years-old — a little book called “My Fat Cat.” Kamis has been actively writing poetry since his junior year of high school; he recalled his senior prom, where he wrote over 80 poems in one sitting. Typically, Kamis favors anaphora, repetition and metaphor, creating a blunt narrative voice. He said he enjoys poetry as something he can easily commit his time to, especially while watching friends and family interpret his works. He takes inspiration from modernist poets such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, as well as contemporary authors like Atticus and Rupi Kaur. 

“Sometimes I will reread my poetry, and it will bring me back to that moment, but not in a bad way,” Kamis said. “It gives me a chance to reflect.” 

Writing poem after poem throughout the fall semester, Kamis published his book through Amazon on Jan. 20. According to Kamis, self-published authors are responsible for purchasing the copyrights and ISBN codes, but Amazon offers 60% royalties to authors on print copies after meeting a certain threshold. This way, authors are able to get the attention of publishing companies. 

Kamis also made his own artwork through Adobe, where he would take a photograph and use software tools to make the images — such as the front cover with his suit jacket and guitar — look more like a painting. He would also doodle in a sketchbook and scan them to give some dimension to the pages. 

Originally, Kamis was going to publish a different poetry book with a more conventional, modernist feel. The book is a more personal look into his life, including family-oriented themes. Though he said he will return to this, he is looking forward to writing a play called “Wishes for Willow.” 

“I want to write a lot. Right now I am working on a play, which Dr. Engel is helping with, to hopefully get out to the PIttsburgh theaters,” Kamis said. “The plot is a little morbid, but it’s about a single dad and his daughter who passed away, and he keeps her wish journal with him to carry out her wishes in her honor.” 

Until then, Kamis’ “If Only You Would Listen” is available on Amazon for $9.99. For more information on Kamis’ future works, visit his website: