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Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

‘Echoes of the Heart’ and the writer behind its beat 

Lukas Katilius
Junior Creative Writing Aaliyah Stottlemyer poses for a photo at the student center on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

Columbia student Aaliyah Stottlemyer released “Echoes of The Heart: Poems From Every Inch of It,” a poetry book that seeks to connect and provide a voice for readers by creating poems based on emotions and life experiences. 

Although she has written for a while, Stottlemyer, a junior creative writing major, said she didn’t decide to write the book until recently, and it was her way of making her presence known as a writer. 

“This is just kind of my way of saying ‘hello, I’m here. I’m taking up space,’” Stottlemyer said. 

One of the poems included in the book is the previously published “Memory Lane.” It speaks about reflecting on past memories and choosing to move on from them.

 “I learned that I can make a statement and have that matter. I can express as deeply and as much as I want to, and have that be okay. It just heals something for me, it just lets me know that I can feel as deeply as I want to, and that’s fine,” Stottlemyer said.

Despite not having prior book publishing experience, she learned how to on the web, specifically through Barnes and Noble Press.

The site serves authors in providing them with how to publish a book, royalties and book dimensions, said Stottlemyer.

Lisa Fishman, a professor in the English and Creative Writing Department and the former poetry program director, said it’s not uncommon for students such as in a workshop class to say that they’ve self-published a book. 

One example of this is Toya Wolfe, who graduated with her master’s in fine arts in creative writing. She published “Last Summer On State Street” in 2022 and went on to receive several awards.

“At the graduate level, especially, is where students have gone to submit to different avenues of publication,” Fishman said.

For Stottlemyer, encouragement from her friends inspired her to be publicly open about her writing. Previously she had only done photography work publicly, while writing remained personal due to the vulnerability she had written. 

Other than sharing some of her poems with friends, Stottlemyer said she also posted them on the social media app TikTok. She would receive comments from users expressing relatability to the message. 

“People would swipe up on my story and say ‘this is so cool that you wrote about this,’” she said.

Mirly Delgado, who has been friends with Stottlemyer since high school, said that her writing has become more profound over time and has been encouraging her to keep writing.

“The care she pours onto every word she writes hits the mark every time and sometimes when I read one of her works I had to give myself the time to recollect my thoughts, “ said Delgado.

Stottlemyer said feedback such as that let her know of her capability for successful writing.

 “I want to know that I’ve connected with somebody on any level. My whole purpose is that I want any of these poems to just connect with somebody because they might feel seen, and feel heard,” Stottlemyer said. 

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About the Contributors
Uriel Reyes, Reporter
ureyes@columbiachronicle.com   Uriel Reyes is a sophomore music performance major, minoring in journalism. He primarily covers the Muesum of Contemporary Photography, and the Dance and Theatre Departments. Reyes has also written student spotlight articles and film reviews. He joined the Chronicle in January 2023.   Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Lukas Katilius, Photojournalist
lkatilius@columbiachronicle.com   Lukas Katilius is a junior photojournalism major. He has covered various campus and Chicago events. Katilius  joined the Chronicle in July 2023.   Hometown: New Lenox, Illinois