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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Stories Etc: ‘Deny This’ uses repetition, wordplay to ignite themes of justice

Poem tackles subjects of denied rights, rising against unjust powers
Greta Zimmermann

Welcome to StoriesEtc, a place where University of Wisconsin students can share their original works of creative writing with the community, whether it be poetry, short stories or anything in between. As a section dealing with the arts, it feels only natural to create an opportunity for students to share their creative talents.

With that being said, let’s meet this week’s repeat contributor, Rodrigo Smith:

Tell us about yourself. What’s your major?


My name is Rodrigo Smith, I am from the Southside of Chicago and was born and raised there my entire life.  I grew up in a household surrounded by music and lyrical expression. I am a senior majoring in mathematics. I love poetry and writing for similar reasons as to why I do mathematics. I encourage anyone to follow their passion and express their creativity through whatever medium they see fit, and I truly believe this holds for my passion for mathematics and for writing in general.

StoriesEtc: ‘Game of Life’ reveals the ways in which we are all at mercy to chance

How many times have you written for this column?

I have written to the StoriesEtc. only one other time, this will be my second submission (hopefully I can find time to write more).

Why did you want to write for StoriesEtc. to begin with?

I wanted to write for the column for two reasons. One of the main reasons (which may serve to be the most obvious one) is that I desire to improve my writing as well as get into the habit of keeping my skills sharp when it comes to developing my work. Moreover, I desire to share my poems/writings with other people that are willing to read it. The second reason is to hopefully encourage others to follow whatever passions that seems fit for them whether it’s mathematics, painting, drawing, or anything else that comes to mind.

Stories Etc: ‘My Shrunken Universe’ offers a youthful tale of misadventure, fantasy

How is this piece similar to and different from the work you submitted before?

This piece is very short (much shorter than my previous piece). I think that’s the main difference. The word length of a poem can grant a different overall tone for the message the artist is trying to portray. However, the strongest similarities between this one and the previous is that they both focus on the notion struggling to overcome odds that may have been stacked against you, and learning to traverse problems that come your way in order to establish a greater sense of self. To elaborate, by “sense of self” I mean the notion of identity in terms of where you come from and what hardships you’ve endured to make you a better person.

Here is a sample of Smith’s work:

“Deny This.”

Deny this…

Deny me….

Defy what??

Defy thee…

Defy thee…system

That denied me rights.

Defy the system…that pains my sight

Defy the system..that denied my fights.

Defy the system..that’s foul and ripe.

Deny me this, deny me that.

Dignified I stand deny me nothing no longer

For I overcome.

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