Elijah Cardenas: Using Poetry to Find Yourself/by Morgan Miller
Creative talent exists across all corners of MC’s campus, taking shape in the form of writers, artists, musicians, and countless other expressive endeavors. Elijah Cardenas is one of those forms of creative talent, utilizing poetry to showcase his love of language.
A junior English Writing major hailing from Texas, Cardenas has been writing poetry for a few years now. As a prolific writer, he decided to create an outlet to share his works with others in the hopes of fostering inspiration, coming in the form of a website called Mangata.me.
When asked where the name of his website came from, he says, “It’s a Swedish word, actually, that I heard about from something I was reading. It’s a word that refers to the reflection of the moon on a still body of water. It’s a word that doesn’t translate well into any language outside of Swedish because it’s specific to that language. That kind of got me thinking about the meaning of words and how I can use words to invoke emotion, invoke a picture. Of course, my mind got rolling to poetry instantly as one of my passions and loves. I thought, ‘Hey, I should make a website out of this!’”
Mangata.me contains multiple poems, all written in a variety of forms that can be sorted according to the category of poetry they fall into. Cardenas typically uploads at least once a month, adding to an already lengthy collection. He believes that the best of his poems depict stories in a way that is simple and to the point.
“I think that poetry can be a little intimidating because it has this aura about it that makes people think it has to be about metaphors and symbolism,” Cardenas explains. “But I think poetry is a lot about just how you feel. If you can get past that intimidation, it can be a really freeing exercise.”
Many might hear the word poetry and think of long hours spent in class kneeled over stanzas, desperately trying to make sense of words that feel stiff and ancient. However, poetry takes on a new light when applied on a personal level. It lets people play with language in a way that few other forms allow, shaping words into new phrases and giving life to feelings unspoken. And just like Cardenas says, it can tell a story in its most basic form while allowing for the most profound interpretations.
Cardenas’ creation of Mangata.me is a physical representation of his love for the craft, forged from a desire to publish his work for others to interact with in a way that allows for positive experiences.
Upon asking what he wants others to take away from his website, Cardenas says, “I have an introduction on there that kind of states the reason why I made Mangata. It was a search for joy and meaning as well as searching within yourself. The phrase that stuck with me was ‘May you never cease in the search for yourself,’ and that’s what I really want out of it. A lot of these poems are reflections of my thoughts and my feelings and myself. That’s what I want to inspire others to do: use poetry for what it is. It’s an avenue to search within yourself and reflect on the world around you and how you fit into it.”
Visit Mangata.me to view a collection of Cardenas’ work and learn something about yourself in the process. May it grant you a new lens through which to view the world.