Kevin Till: Simply a poet

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 2, 2002

Features Editor

At a glance, Kevin Till doesn’t look like a


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His slender build and crew cut give him the appearance of, perhaps, a cyclist, a hiker or rock climber.

But, inside, there beats the heart of a poet.

When Till was a student at Goshen High School, he realized that words were an important part of his life. Not spoken words, but words of thought that often consumed him until he put them on paper.

That release came in the form of poetry and that almost came as a surprise to Till.

He didn’t have a strong background in music or art, or even literature, that would have prompted his fascination with poetry. It was just something within him.

Till sang in a family band, Dixie Pride, when he was growing up, but he never had a desire to write music or lyrics to songs. But he did have a desire to write poetry.

"Poetry is the way I express my creative side," Till said. "I really can’t explain why I write poetry and when exactly I started. I just know that I enjoy writing, and it doesn’t really seem to surprise anyone who knows me that I write poetry – maybe some who don’t know me are surprised, though."

Writing poetry is what Till usually does late at night when he’s alone.

"Most of the time, I start with a title and work from there," he said. "Sometimes I’ll think of something during the day that gives me an idea for a poem. Sometimes an idea will come in the middle of the night. Sometimes

I can sit down and write a complete poem. Other times, I might start and stop and start and stop a dozen times. Each poem is different and each one is written differently."

Till writes about happy thoughts and sad thoughts, but each poem is "definitely me."

Even though the subject of a poem might be someone as close as a family member or a friend or as distant as a stranger on the street, Kevin Till is meshed in the words.

"I think it would be hard for a poet to write a poem completely separate from himself," he said.

For his poems to be liked and understood, Till said it is necessary for them to be simple and direct.

"A lot of people don’t like poetry because they don’t understand it," he said. "I try to write my poems in a straightforward way so they are easy to understand. I like creative simplicity."

Till keeps his collection of handwritten poems in a folder. They aren’t arranged in any specific order and he pulls them out, one-by-one, to share with anyone who is interested.

"I’ve had several poems published in the Poet’s Corner in the Luverne Journal and people who work with me at Wal-Mart sometimes ask to read them," he said. "I like to get feedback from my poems. I like to know what people like and what they don’t like. But, then, I’ll still write what I feel."

The young poet said he has a favorite line from one of his poems.

"It may not be the best line I’ve written, but it’s probably my favorite," he said. "It reads: ‘As a cold sweat runs over my skin, I feel so wet and full of sin.’ Although I’ve never experienced a cold sweat, many people have traumatic nightmares and those are the words I found to express the feelings, I believe, are caused by those nightmares."

Till’s hope is that one day, he might have his poems published, but, for now, he is content to put his feelings on paper and to share them with others who might get pleasure from them, too.

"Maybe, then, ‘I’ll be the song that you can sing,’" Till said.