Atticus: The Lost Poet

Justice Petersen, IV Leader Columnist

 

The Mysterious Masked Poet, Photo courtesy of Justice Petersen

IV Leader Columnist Justice Petersen and her friend pose for a picture with Atticus while attending an event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. Atticus is known for remaining anonymous by wearing a mask, even when appearing publicly.

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Many people in the IVCC com- munity may never have heard of the modern-day Atticus. So, just who is Atticus? Atticus is a Canadian poet who has taken the world, particularly Instagram, by storm.

Atticus has written two books, Love Her Wild and The Dark Between Stars, and he has just finished the tour for the third installment of his series titled The Truth About Magic. In the past year, Atticus started his own brand of wine called Lost Poet Wine. Addition- ally, Atticus has just started his own podcast, “Naked on Cashmere,” where he reads his poems.

Before publishing his books, Atti- cus became well-known on Instagram where he would post short, whimsi- cal poems that were both witty and attention-getting. A primary cause of Atticus’s fame is the fact that he remains anonymous by wearing a mask. He claims that he first wore the mask because sharing his poetry with the world made him feel very vulner- able and he was shy to show such an emotional side of himself. Thus, the mask became a part of him. Now, he says he wears the mask so that he may write what he truly feels, as opposed to what the world thinks he should feel. Atticus writes about love, heart- break, getting lost in the streets of Par- is, and wild youth. He recently came to Naperville for a reading and book signing for his The Truth About Magic tour, and I was lucky enough to go and have a truly amazing experience while seeing what Atticus is about.

I have been a fan of Atticus for a couple of years now. I first found him while scrolling through Instagram and, ever since then, I have been obsessed. His poems are short, yet they seem to resonate so well. When I heard that he was coming to Chicago on Sept. 12 and the event was free and open to the public, I knew I couldn’t miss such an experience.

The event took place at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville. It was a tiny indie bookstore with a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The event was packed, which is expected for someone as well-known as Atticus. The funny thing I noticed about his fame is that when I asked my friends about Atticus, nobody seemed to know him. But on Instagram, @atticuspoetry, he has 1.2 million followers.

I went with my mom and my sister to the event and, when we got there, I was both nervous and excited. I was going to get some of my books signed by him and I was very nervous to meet him. But, I was very eager to listen to him read his poems. I had never been to a poetry reading before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Finally, Atticus came out and the reading began. As he read, there were some people sitting on the floor and some people standing. There was barely any room, so my sister and I awkwardly squeezed in between bookshelves to be able to see him. While  Atticus read his poetry, classical music played; the overall feel was very relaxing. It was amazing to hear him read his poems that were my personal favorites. To some, this may just be another poet reading at some random bookstore, but for me the experience was very touching. If I had a beret and was in a coffee shop in Paris or New York City, I could have finally been the cringey, stereotypical, struggling, desperate, wannabe artist I’ve always wanted to be.

As he read, he would stop and let people ask him questions. They would ask him typical questions, such as “will you ever take off the mask?” and “what got you into poetry?”, and they would also ask more profound questions, such as “how do you write poetry, and why?”. What I found very interesting was that he would not only answer their questions, but also was very engaging in conversation. He would turn the question around and even ask them some questions as well. Atticus is very kind, charming, and heartfelt, and one can see this both through his poetry and his personality as they witness him in person.

Once the reading was over, after about an hour and half, the signing began. You had to order his new book from the bookshop to get into the signing line, and your place in line depended on how soon you ordered the book. As I waited for my turn, I went to his pop-up merch stand and bought a shirt. (It’s one of my favorite t-shirts now; I wear it all the time, just so you all are aware.) As my turn came up, I was incredibly anxious. Fortu- nately, Atticus was extremely sweet.

I had him sign my books and I even built up the courage to start a little conversation with him. I told him how much it meant to me that I got to hear him read my favorite poems in person, and I told him that some of his poems

I could strongly relate to. He then told me that he appreciated what I said and that it meant a lot to him. Once he signed my books, my sister and I got a few pictures with him. Then, the event was officially over for us.

Overall, Atticus’s reading and signing was something that I will never forget. I know that sounds super cheesy, and I apologize, but it’s true. In his books, Atticus writes about love and youth and chasing after whatever makes you happy. He teaches me, as well as his other fans, to not hesitate or be afraid to create or to express yourself through art. After this ex- perience, I encourage others to look for artistic events happening nearby, whether it be a book reading, an art show, or even a new movie coming out. If it sparks something in you, I believe you should chase it, just like Atticus writes: “Chase your stars fool, life is short.”

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