The Unintentional Poet: Chris Carrier
by Chad Messer
Public Television paragon Bob Ross once said that there
are no mistakes, just happy accidents. Such sentiment certainly
applies to WCU graduate Chris Carrier, who "accidentally’
scrawled his first poem on the top of a desk in 12th grade.
He has been scrawling them ever since.
From outer space to inner fire
“I wanted to be an astronaut,” Carrier says about
his early educational goals. He started his career at Western
as a pre-engineering major, until he became disillusioned
with mathematics and enamored with words.
He entered WCU’s English department specifically because
of its intimate size. “I grew without being swallowed,
as might have happened at a bigger school,” he states
about his alma mater. "They gave me community…and
a solid cliff from which to dive.” The small size of
the English community at Western meant Carrier was never merely
Now a published poet and teacher in his own right, Carrier
published his first book, "After Dayton," in 2008,
as well as chapbooks "Lyric" (horse less press,
2007) and "The 16s" (Katalanche Press, 2007). His
poems have appeared in 6x6, American Letters and Commentary,
Coconut, LIT, Pleiades, Verse, Word For/Word and elsewhere.
He works and lives in western Massachusetts with a chihuahua
Carrier graduated from the prestigeous M.F.A. program at
University of Massachusetts — Amherst, where he earned
a full scholarship. When asked to describe the importance
of expression through the written word, he stated, “It’s
how I change the world, how I make it ugly. Writing is how
I make beauty and beautiful things. It’s how I woo women.
It’s how I wake and sleep and do everything in between.
Basically, existence is futile without writing.”
A difficult muse
All writers instinctively know one thing: it must be done.
Chris Carrier had his life planned out until the muse tapped
him on the shoulder and showed him a new path. “Suddenly,
a line jumped out at me,” Carrier states as he related
his first writing experience. “It had sharp gnashing
teeth and gulped fire; it scared me. I wanted to cross it
out, but could only keep going.”