On November 4, third-year English major Tania Belmont was taking a leisurely stroll around the Anacapa residents’ hall when she spotted a small piece of paper fluttering in the wind. Out of curiosity, she picked it up and read it aloud to herself, only to find that the arbitrary paper contained a startling masterpiece of a haiku.
“The words hit me deep, and I immediately started sobbing. I had never read anything like it before,” said Belmont while sharing the poem on Facebook. After a series of handwriting analysis tests the writer of the poem was determined to be none other than undeclared first-year student Ian Downing. Faculty and students alike stood in awe of the profundity, minimalism, and subtlety inherent in Downing’s technique.
“The sparse yet emotionally-charged language comes across as quite effortless, but in reality this piece shows immense poetic aptitude in the vein of Yeats or John Donne,” said English Professor John Worthington, as he stooped to set fire to his personal collection of poetry. “This boy is clearly a prodigy. Perhaps even a prophet.”
When approached about the piece, Downing was reportedly surprised to hear that the to-do list he had half-heartedly scribbled out the night before was in fact a literary stroke of genius. He describes his creative process as such: “Well, first I eat something. Anything will do, but Bugles are my brain food of choice. Then I usually take a nap for a good five or six hours. After that, I’ll roll out of bed and just write down what I have to do that day.”
Sources say that the now viral haiku teases the release of a self-contained poetry anthology, entitled An Undeclared Virtuoso: The Complete Works of Ian Downing.