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The Mass Media

Student Profile: Darrell Penta

Darrell PentaSeniorEnglish and Social Psychology

After a year at Northeastern and three years of running his own clothing store on Martha’s Vineyard, Darrell Penta’s thirst for knowledge brought him back to academia. Darrell, an active and accomplished students at UMass Boston, is a scholarship winner, won the Academy of American Poet’s Harold Taylor prize for the 2002-2003academic year, and was a runner up for the Academy of American Poet’s Harold Taylor prize the following year. He was a poetry juror for the Watermark, is part of the creative writing newsletter, assistant to the general manager at WUMB, and is also a member of the Creative Writing Honors program and the International Honors Society. This past summer he won a scholarship to study modern Irish literature, creative writing, and poetry at Trinity College in Oxford, England.

Darrell, who started writing poetry about two and a half years ago, claims poetry is his favorite artistic medium because it allows him to be expressive and think about language in an alternative manner. Darrell says much of his poetry deals with the themes of “Memory, faulty memory, the inability of memory to capture reality, although we want it to. I tend to go into autobiographical or semi-autobiographical issues as a way to work through those issues. Although, I don’t consider myself an autobiographical poet.” Darrel’s poem “To Michael” won the 2002-2003 Academy of American Poet’s Harold Taylor prize and was a runner up the following year with his poem “In the Kitchen of Angels and Fruit.”

Along with poetry, Darrell is also an accomplished academic writer. He has recently completed his English thesis on Mark Twain, which focused on Twain’s first book The Innocence Abroad and a collection of letters he wrote for newspapers. Darrell says that, “My primary focus was his representation of basically foreign cultures, his representation primarily of non-Christian, non-white culture.” Research is an ongoing process and there is never really a limit to how much work one can do, Darrell says the following about his thesis: “Even with the fifty pages and all the work I’ve put into it, I’ve probably just scratched the surface with how deep it could have gone.”

Through the years at UMB, Darrell has had many great professors and fellow students that have helped with his writing. His involvement with the Creative Writing Alumni group has further proved his belief that it is important for writers and artists to work together and encourage each other. “Writing communities can sometimes be stronger than writers on their own, and when you have that community and it’s a strong community you have a lot of advantages, not the least of which is having people to talk about writing…”

Darrell will be graduating this December and plans to return to England to study at the University of London where he wants to do a masters in Modern English Language. Darrell knows that he will constantly be learning, whether it’s part of his profession or not. ” If I’m going to wake up in the morning and decide that I really love my job its probably going to be teaching.” Darrell would prefer to teach at the graduate level but says, “I’d be interested in teaching at every level, because every level you teach at has its own set of challenges, and more importantly an opportunity for you to learn. As long as I’m able to learn, as long as I’m able to continue to learn I’ll be happy.”