At first glance, Michael Skripalsh appears to be a typical 17 year-old. He's tall, extremely affable, well-spoken and full of energy. What sets him apart from most his age, however, is Michael is a self-published poet.
He's released a full book of poems called, Where Evening Blue. His second collection is coming out Nov. 1. While some writers bog themselves down inside a dark room, Michael sets off into the natural world.
“Poetry was a love at first sight,” he said.
In elementary school, Michael started looking into classical poems and Shakespeare. A voracious reader, he attributes Japanese, German, and French poetry to be inspirational to his own work.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, he and his family moved when he was very young to Atlanta, Georgia. His father then took a job in Bellevue, moving his family to Woodinville.
One of Michael’s first memories of writing was when he was very young. He wrote a story about a group of fox hunters on a yellow notepad.
“I’m sure my parents still have it now somewhere in the garage… that was the first thing I’d ever written that made me really proud,” he said.
The majority of poetry Michael writes is inspired by nature.
“Most the time my ideas for my poems come from walking around and thinking about life. I’d notice how the trees move or specific smells. I write about the feelings I have and the things I wonder about.”
He loves being in Woodinville. “I really like the idea of living in a small-town environment as opposed to bigger cities. You feel like you know everybody.”
Still trying to, “find his voice,” Michael enjoys discovering strange metaphors and ways to utilize language. “I like reading my poems later because it lets me look back at how I was thinking about certain things.”
Michael is excited to publish more poetry, and is looking forward to attending college. He’s already gearing up towards a PhD in literature. Before post-grad life, he’s hoping to go to the University of Washington, but is also applying to a handful of schools in California and some on the East coast.
Michael is thankful to his parents and professors that have helped guide him into an artistic existence. James Backstrom, his advanced placement teacher at Woodinville High School was, “incredibly inspirational.”
“He introduced me to a whole new sphere of poems. He sparked the inspiration to pursue literature and poetry in general. He helps me make a lot of the choices I choose in my poetry and my lifestyle.”
Michael self-publishes his poetry but thinks someday he’ll want a publisher. For now, he wants his art to be free to the world and is working on a website where people will be able to read his work.
Seemingly destined for a robust, artistic life where he hopes to one day be a professor, his creativity will be guiding him, straight into the sunlight.
“I’m the kind of guy that walks by a puddle and sees something interesting in it like ghosts or figures. Poetry has taught me is to notice and appreciate the details of things. I think that way of thinking dies down in some people and it should continue to exist.”