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MCHS teacher to be published


Second-year Magoffin County High School English teacher Haley Skaggs will soon be published in a book featuring “Kentucky’s Best Emerging Poets.”

Skaggs was contacted last month by Z Publishing House and asked to submit poems for consideration. She researched the company and mulled it over, eventually sending five poems and not expecting much to happen, but received an email last week letting her know one of her poems, titled “Hope,” was selected for the book.

“I was so excited,” Skaggs told the Independent. “I had no idea if they were going to like it, especially that poem, specifically. It’s not a mainstream kind of thing, so when they did, I was even more excited.”

While Skaggs was an English major at Morehead State University, she didn’t start writing poetry until 2016.

“I took a poetry class and had an amazing professor who showed me poetry is not as hard as I thought it was and he helped open up poetry to me. It didn’t have to be this complicated, Shakespearean thing, and ever since then I’ve been writing poetry.”

Z Publishing House first saw her work in Morehead State University’s literary magazine, Inscape, which published her poem titled “Writer’s Block.”

While she said she doesn’t have one specific writing style, she explained that she often writes in stream of consciousness, either with her own thoughts and feelings or by empathizing with others’ situations.

For the poem to be published, “Hope,” specifically, she was watching television when abortion was brought up during a commercial.

“It made me so mad because I couldn’t stop thinking about all the women who struggle to have kids, thinking about this woman, trying and trying to have a baby, finally having it, only for it all to be taken away, again,” Skaggs explained. “It’s about this horrible struggle for women and how society works and I was just so sad and this was something I had to do to get it out of my system.”

She said she has always been empathetic, looking at how a person would feel in a given situation and wanting to give that person a voice.

“Especially being a teacher, I want my students to have a voice,” Skaggs said. “Sometimes it’s me, but sometimes I’m in someone else’s head and wanting to give them a voice.”

Though her poem was written from the perspective of a woman losing a baby shortly after childbirth, she said people have read it differently, with one person seeing it as a man losing his wife during childbirth. 

“That’s what’s so unique about poetry,” Skaggs said. “Everyone has their own reading of poetry and anyone can make it however they relate to it.”

“Kentucky’s Best Emerging Poets” is now available for sale from Z Publishing House at the following link: 

Haley Skaggs is the daughter of Tony and Angela Skaggs. 


Heather Oney

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