Have you ever thought about writing a book? 21 year old, senior, Asia Calcagno has since she was 14, and this year she is actually releasing one!
Asia Calcagno from Chicago, Illinois is an English major with a concentration in poetry and is also getting her Secondary Education certificate. She is currently student teaching at Montville High School, where she teaches three sophomore classes and one freshman class. She is one busy, beautiful, talented, hard working, passionate young woman. She says reading her book is a great way to get to know more about her.
The Low Down on the book
Where We Take Guns is a compilation of poems Asia has written over the last couple of years. She tells Her Campus that she is a perfectionist. She has actually been working on it since she was 19 years old and has written over fifteen versions of the book– all in attempts of getting it just right for her readers. The book covers many motifs including war, “blackness” in America, and violence in Chicago.
Guns are a metaphor for many things and changes according to the individual. Asia believes that everyone has his or her own “gun” which is ultimately a metaphor for war. Wars within a home, neighborhood, within institutions, or within one’s own self. These metaphorical guns are those circumstances so severe and important to a person that they must learn to battle. Asia asks the readers to engage in conversation with the book and to identify their “gun.”
The book is about 30 pages long and includes over 20 poems. The oldest poem is about two years old, but the majority are new compositions. She wrote most of them while engaging in a 30/30 challenge in April where she wrote one new poem a day for 30 days and posted them on her blog. For those readers who don’t know what the challenge entails, it is basically a list of daily tasks which users are encouraged to complete. They are very popular on social media sites like Instagram and Tumblr. They are tons of fun and great for sparking creativity.
Inspiration for Asia
Asia is a very driven, powerful, and eloquent young woman, however she tells Her Campus that once she started writing at 14, she was very timid and had difficulty expressing herself with words. She is extremely private and feels that writing is an alternative way to “vehicle” her emotions. She says she would rather write than verbally express what is going on internally. Her family and friends have come to know and accept her alternative form of communication. She jokes about them constantly telling her that she is 21 going on 48 because of her maturity.
Asia started writing and performing when she was 14 years old when she was in high school in Chicago. She knew she was meant to be a writer from the moment she picked up a pen. She feels excited and empowered when she writes something she is proud of. The majority of her friends are writers, artists and performers and that has also influenced her devotion to the craft. Asia is extremely compassionate and has a positive aura. I am sure that her family and friends also feed off of her enthusiasm, creativity and passion.
Asia credits writing for saving her life. She claims growing up in Chicago is “a struggle in itself” and acknowledges that it is “a murder capital”. She has become accustomed to turning on the news and hearing news reports on gun violence against young, black men. Her father is also a Vietnam War veteran. All of these factors strongly influenced the content in Where We Take Our Guns. She has found writing to be a useful way of channeling anger and sadness.
The Release Party and Getting Your Own Copy of the Book
The release party for Where We Take Our Guns is Friday, September 13th from 8pm to 10pm in Cro’s Nest. Asia is extremely excited and looks forward to sharing this very special moment with everyone. There will be a DJ, dancers, poetry performances, and snacks. Asia will also be reading portions of her book, in addition to performing other compositions. She looks forward for a “night full of art” and celebration.
She is extremely humble and laughed when asked if she will be signing autographs. She does not want the night to be centered on her, but on art in all its forms. However, there is hope– Asia will sign our copies if we ask nicely!
The books will be sold at the release party and are only $6.00! Make sure to get your copy. Asia is a talented rising star and we have no doubt she will be hard to reach one day.
Can’t make it to the release party? Do not fear! Asia is currently researching alternative ways of selling the book and Her Campus will keep you posted when they become available online.
What advice would you give Conn Coll Writers?
When asked what advice she would give to writers at Connecticut College, Asia very eloquently answered “write what you know and write what you fear because that is where your best work comes from.” She says fear held her back and prevented her from releasing her book earlier; this is such a beautiful moment in her life because it proves she conquered the anxiety. She says she has grown emotionally and artistically along with her book and knows other writers can do the same as they develop their projects.
Want more tips from this amazing young woman? Attend a Reflexion meeting! Asia is currently Reflexion’s president. It is an on-campus spoken word organization for newbies and advanced poets, song writers and rappers, or those that want to enter the vocal-art field. They host incredible writing and performance workshops that anyone would benefit from.
Her Campus wishes Asia tons and tons of success in this and future endeavors!