Keuka College Sophomore is a Published Poet: Mikayla Baker Shares Her World in ‘Phases’

The 19-year-old digital marketing major used her Field Period to complete, publish, and market her debut poetry collection.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

“There’s a little bit of poetry in everything,” says Keuka College sophomore Mikayla Baker.

Except for her new book – there’s a lot of poetry in that.
The 19-year-old digital marketing major used her winter 2023 Field Period® to complete a newly published book of poetry. “Phases” includes more than 200 original works, most of them written in the six months before its February publication.
“I think I clicked with poetry because it was a way for me to express myself as a writer,” said Mikayla, who lives in Rushville. “I think a poet is somebody who can translate feelings into words, and I think that’s just really beautiful.”
Mikayla started writing in middle school and was immediately successful, winning the Marcus Whitman Central School District’s English Iverson Award for distinguished writing in eighth grade. She fell away from writing for a while during her busy high school years but returned with a vengeance about a year ago.
She began crafting the poems that became “Phases” for herself after a difficult period. But the more she wrote, the more she realized she had something special to share.
“I want people to know that some of the things they feel, they’re not the only ones feeling this way – and that they are validated,” she said. “No matter how alone they feel, they are validated.”
Judging from the response on Amazon, where “Phases” has garnered a five-star rating and landed on the best-seller list under poetry for young adults, that validation is being felt widely. “Truly amazing,” “a great mix of sad and happy,” and “beautifully written” are among the comments left by readers.
“I’m a thinker,” said Mikayla, whose work can also be found in the latest edition of the College’s Crooked Lake Collection. “I like things that make me think. I like making other people think and reflect, as well. I feel like that’s really important, and that the world could be a better place if we all took a second and reflected.”

Inspiration can come from anywhere, said Mikayla, from pent-up feelings to overheard comments. As a commuter student who holds down a part-time job in Canandaigua, Ontario County, along with a full class load, she keeps the Notes page on her phone handy for when an idea strikes, then does her writing late into the evenings.
The writing was only the beginning of the journey in getting “Phases” in front of readers. From the design of the book to marketing research to advertising to social media posts to creating fliers and posters, Mikayla has been a one-woman publishing force, taking full creative control of her first published work. (Her second, if you count an effort co-written with a pair of classmates in third grade: “Humans vs. Vampires.”)
“This is a complete indie author book,” she said of “Phases.”
One notable assist came from her editor, Keuka College management major Peyton Taylor.
“He’s been my backboard, he’s been the person I’m messaging at three in the morning; he’s been wonderful,” said Mikayla.
It’s safe to say he’s also been busy, given Mikayla’s productivity. He’ll likely stay that way, as Mikayla is already planning her next collection, “Tides,” which will carry on the moon-related motif found in “Phases.”

That collection will have to wait until the summer, though.

“I have a bunch of ideas written down and worked on the cover design a little,” she said. “But right now, I’m just trying to make it through the semester!”
For more information or to purchase “Phases,” visit

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