Poet Laureate Visits GLHS

“Everyone is a poet, yes, life is art,” said James Ragan, as he inspired language arts and journalism students at Greater Latrobe High School. The students who were immersed in words and poetry listened to his experience with great appreciation.

Ragan’s humble experience brought him to be the influential person he is today. Born of 13 kids is now an artist, professor, musician and most famously a poet. Ragan lived in Eastern European countries for several years during the times of the Soviet influence. The man of many trades shared an autobiography of his life, filled with stories of his passion in his various exploits. He shared insight and advice on being a worldly citizen and how to become one. Also, Ragan explained how he applies his insight and experience into his artwork, music, and poetry.

Ragan detailed the world we live in and the steps we should take to change it. Worldly citizens try to do this everyday. Ragan’s solution is to first take advantage of our opportunities presented to us in our day to day lives. “‘Yes’ is the catalyst of your life,” said Ragan. He said that the only way to make it in the world is to say yes, because that one small word can make all the difference, taking you to you places you would never even imagine.

Ragan has experienced opportunity. He has written and recited poetry in front of huge crowds, in front of the communist Politburo in the 1980s protesting their harmful actions, and alongside the famous Bob Dylan.

Ragan used his talent with empowering words in plays, screenplays, and movies. “The Godfather” was a notable movie that is repertoire.  He is friends with Jack Nickolson. He has letters from Goldie Hahn.

Meeting a person with such unique experiences and dynamic presence as James Ragan, people tend to listen. Ragan spoke with several English classes as well as the Multimedia Journalism class. He stated that he draws inspiration from his surroundings, making insight from situations, and then putting the thoughts into a beautiful artwork of poetry. Ragan, a very profound individual, inspired the students with his story, poetry, and words of wisdom. Students such as Cheyanne Lesko. Cheyanne is a Junior and in Mrs. Stallings’ English class. Lesko said that “James Ragan really puts himself into his work, he showed me that if I put my mind to something, I can do it.”

James Ragan has made a difference in the world using his words and actions. From protesting in Czechoslovakia, to writing inspiring poetry, and to simply sharing his knowledge with us in the classroom. Inspiration like Ragan’s causes a ripple, its starts in one place, but spreads to many others. Drawing inspiration from Ragan, and by expanding our own mind, we can make this a better world.