Prof. Jon Inglett. Photo by Jessica Barfield

Oklahoma City Community College’s Professor of English Jon Inglett recently published a poem called Milarepa in the Amethyst Review. 

Inglett, who has been writing for over 20 years,  teaches Creative Writing and Poetry, English Composition I and II, Film Studies and Comparative Religions courses. 

“I do not publish much, actually,” Inglett said. “I do write a lot and used to self-publish work on various blogs; but I do encourage my students to publish their work at our journal, Absolute Literary Journal.”

Inglett’s love for writing began from a young age. He remembers writing in elementary school when given a journal to write responses about the books they had read in class, and to begin to create stories of their own. 

Later in high school, he took a Creative Writing course that connected him to other writers and provided him with the opportunity to be a part of the school journal’s development. 

“So, writing began early, but I also wrote poems to express my feelings. I was an introvert, so writing became one form of communication to my peers,” Inglett said. 

Milarepa is an imaginative poem that was inspired by the roots of Buddhism and follows a Tibetan yogi who meditated in the caves of Tibet, named Milarepa. 

“He murdered many people before he decided to change his life. Milarepa ended up attaining liberation or nirvana in one lifetime despite his hardship,” Inglett said.  

The poem was written as a reminder of one’s own suffering during their lifetime, as Inglett states it correlates with his own personal hardships. 

“If he could attain liberation based on his path, then I think all of us can better ourselves as human beings,” he said.  

“Milarepa” explores the themes of overcoming suffering and improving your life through this journey towards nirvana. 

Inglett noted that in his own life he gathers inspiration from historical role models such as Jesus, Ghandi, Milarepa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh, who died in late January. 

“We have all made mistakes in life we wish to forget. We all regret so many things and turn for forgiveness and aspirations,” Inglett said. 

Yet as a writer, Inglett believes that his greatest professional achievement has nothing to do with being published or what he has written but teaching students and having the ability to have a positive impact on his student’s lives. 

Early in his career, he taught in East St. Louis where he was able to provide students struggling with poverty with the necessary support to develop skills needed to excel beyond their economic systems. 

His passion for teaching has only grown since then, as he has now spent more than 20 years at OCCC inspiring students to explore their creative imagination. 

“At OCCC, I hope I have given students passion to fulfill their dreams. Even if they do not major in English or Humanities, I hope I have shown students the heart of human connection through art, history, poetry and writing. Nothing compares to making a difference in students’ lives,” Inglett said.  

Read Professor Inglett’s poem, Milarepa, at 

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