Young Writers Project

Weekly On VPR.net

VPR partners with Young Writers Project to present selections of the work of young writers, photographers and artists in Vermont.
 

Each week, VPR features a submission - an essay, poem, fiction of nonfiction - accompanied by a photo or illustration from the Young Writers Project.

The Young Writers Project provides VPR's audience another avenue to hear and read selections from Vermont's young writers. The thoughts and ideas expressed here are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Vermont Public Radio.

The collaboration is organized by Susan Reid of Young Writers Project and Vermont Public Radio.

Young Writers Project: 'The Steps To Making Tea'

1 hour ago
This week, Liz Martell, 16, of Essex Junction, Vermont, uses the quiet act of making tea as a vehicle to explore the bond between two loving partners.
YWP Photo Library, illustration by Ada Shookenhuff, 14, Bakersfield, Vermont

I have never found myself in poetry,
but I think I may have found
myself in your arms,
as we sit in your kitchen
waiting for the kettle.

Modern science has since given us concrete answers to most of our questions – or so we like to think. This week’s Colchester writer Gavin Roberge presents his own whimsical legend about the planetary bodies of the universe.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Sarah Hall, 13, Hanover, NH

Long before man walked the Earth, there were two beings: one of light and warmth, and one of darkness and solace. We call these beings the Sun and the Moon. The Sun and the Moon were watched by the spiteful, mean-spirited Stars. The Stars liked it quiet and dark, much like the Moon. The Sun and the Moon wandered the bleak landscape of Earth separately for what seemed like an eternity, and the Stars happily watched their misery, until one day, the Sun met the Moon. Together they danced across the Earth in a joyous bliss, spreading light and love to the four corners of their world.

Young Writers Project: 'If I Could Fold The World'

Oct 1, 2018
Writer Sophie Usherwood from Hanover, NH, meditates on the creation of origami flowers, relating the handiwork back to a bigger personal picture: her desire to help the world with her own nurturing touch.
Photo by Sophie Usherwood, 15, Hanover, NH / YWP Photo Library

Once I folded an origami rose,
with layers of curled petals spiraling,
gently leaning back in the sun,
wrapping in close to itself.

Young Writers Project: 'Women, Stand Up'

Sep 23, 2018
North Rochester’s Jillian Sherwin seems to shout from the rooftops; she does not mince words in addressing the necessity of feminism.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Anna Doucet, 14, Bristol, Vermont

At camp we play a game called
“Women, Stand Up.”
We stand up for what we’ve accomplished.
We stand up for when we’ve been hurt.
And we stand up for our truth.

Young Writers Project: 'A Celestial Body Of My Own'

Aug 24, 2018
St. Albans-based poet Lonna Neidig this week addresses the conflicts that occur in some interfaith relationships.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Zoe Maxwell, 14, Burlington, Vermont

I.
He told me to stop being an atheist.
He acted as if my tortured soul
couldn’t be salvaged unless I repented
and believed wholly in something larger.
He looked at me with sad eyes
and begged me to believe,

Young Writers Project: 'Sunlight In A Storm'

Aug 20, 2018
Cambridge, Vermont, writer Ila Campbell reads her piece titled, "Sunlight In A Storm" for this week's Young Writers Project.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Nora Wootten, 13, Cornwall, Vermont

Thunder pounded my chest.
All I saw was a haze;
I was lost in a daze.
The lightning struck –
and I was out all out of luck.

Young Writers Project: 'Dublin'

Aug 10, 2018
Charlotte, Vermont, writer Courtney McDermott wrote about her two weeks spent in Ireland for this week's Young Writers Project selection.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Madi Cohen, 16, Jericho, Vermont

Seagulls cry for the ocean,
wings flapping,
bodies soaring
through the smoky,
salty air.

Young Writers Project: 'Tangled Roots'

Aug 3, 2018
Weybridge writer Maddie Crowne expresses that heartbreak occurs even when platonic and mutual.
YWP Photo Library, painting by Ada Shookenhuff, 13, Bakersfield

When two trees surface
into the wrenching winds,
the longing currents and
the undeniable horrors
that cannot be avoided,

Young Writers Project: 'Flamingo'

Jul 27, 2018
Poet Greta Solsaa of Rutland, Vermont, makes a pointed study of a particular ornament we are all familiar with: the lawn flamingo.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Samantha Aikman, 14, Richmond, Vermont

Sagging,
the age-old yet new
flamingo would be half dead
if it were alive.
Dug into the half-live
ground, it stands like
a beach ball
in a deflated summer,
or maybe an inflated winter.

Young Writers Project: 'No Poet'

Jul 13, 2018
Isadora Bailly-Hall is this week's writer. And while some authors and poets may find that their words flow from them like water, Isadora finds that most must endlessly pry and knead and shape and mold.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Emma Brott, Essex Junction

I write poems but I’m no poet.
I’m a teenager,
wandering through an age
where nothing makes sense.
I’m lost in a forest
and hoping beyond hope
that my keyboard
will open up one day –
split right between
the “g” and the “h,”
the “t” and the “y” –
pry itself open like a ribcage
to show me a map.

Young Writers Project: 'A Stormy Night'

Jul 6, 2018
South Burlington poet Gracie Clark, 15, writes about a rainless summer storm that she views from her window and uses sensory-driven language to illustrate a small, personal moment.
YWP Photo Archive, photo by Siena Teare

The humid air drags in my throat
as I scribble on a notepad,
not wanting to forget.
Heat lightning dances
in thundering radiance
along ridges of shadow.
A bloodied moon rises
as a dead husk of bone
instead of a bright pool of energy.

Young Writers Project: 'We Must Not Give Up'

Jun 25, 2018
Winooski writer Hussein Amuri, 14, shouts from the rooftops this week, as he chooses not to address any one difficult situation and encourages the reader to "not stop moving" through tough times.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Hanna Gustafson, South Burlington, Vermont

We must not give up,
‘cause the world is not our home bus
and will lap us anytime.
It will not stop moving,
no matter who you are.

this week’s featured writer from Essex Junction, bravely looks ahead at the person and future she envisions a decade down the road.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, Burlington, Vermont

What is it like to live by yourself? (At least, I assume you do.)
​Is it like the freedom you craved when you were 14?
​Did you ever find that perfect escape? Were you finally able to run away for good?
Where do you live?
​When you were 14, you wanted to move away to Europe – preferably the Netherlands or the U.K.
You wanted to live in one of those hipster-y towns with coffee shops and fancy apartment buildings.
When you were 14, you wanted to travel the world.
​If you're reading this, I assume you're 24.
​You probably haven't gotten that far, but have you seen more than Canada?
If you have, is it as beautiful as we thought it would be?

Young Writers Project: 'Social Ladder'

Jun 8, 2018
Ainsleigh Johnson, 13, from Middlebury, paints the relatable picture of a girl struggling to make herself stand out from the pack
YWP Photo Library, Delaney Harrison, Essex Junction, Vermont

She clings,
helpless,
to her rung –
never looking at
those below her,
always gazing up
to where they all want to be:
the rungs that hold
the rich,
perfect,
thin things.
The popular ones.

Lonna Neidig of St. Albans wrote this week's selection. The St. Albans poet describes the three methods of communication she uses in her life and the mental processes that accompany them.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Kassidy Mannings, Essex Junction, Vermont

There are three routes from my brain
to get words from myself to someone else.
I can use my voice,
write my thoughts by hand,
or type with the tapping of fingers.

Young Writers Project: 'Not A Teenager, Nor A Child'

May 18, 2018
Woodstock’s Nicole Jasmin offers up a healthy dose of exasperated humor this week as she acknowledges that it’s not easy growing up.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, Burlington

I want to be the person I want to be, silly and happy like a child.
But at the same time, I want to act grown-up.

Some teens that I'm around just seem to be a little… grown-up for me?
I wonder if other people feel that way.
I don't want to be identified as "Nicole the Child."
I don't want to be identified as "Nicole the Teen."
All I want to be called is Nicole.
(Or Tater, the nickname my parents call me.)

Young Writers Project: Feet Out Of The Clouds

May 11, 2018
Faith Holzhammer sings about the feeling of losing control as she watches the world around her spin, and the need to stabilize herself amidst the chaos.
YWP Photo Library, Erik Nyhagen, Essex Junction

I'm running over,
and falling ‘round and ‘round.
I'm falling to the sky,
and jumping to the ground.
So get your feet out of the clouds.

Young Writers Project: 'Very Far Away'

May 7, 2018
YWP Photo Library, photo by Emma Brott, Essex Junction

Once upon a time, in a land very far away, a perfect world was lived. In this world was a single country. There, everyone had a say, and everyone had a choice. In this perfect world, everyone accepted and loved each other. Everyone was family, and everyone agreed. Agreed on what, you might ask? Well, let's just say that there were no disputes on whether or not the country should launch a missile on other living people. For some absurd reason, they always agreed against it.

Young Writers Project: 'Charging My Heart'

Apr 27, 2018
 she recognizes and embraces a beautiful connection – one that exists between her own expression and release through writing, and the love interest both inspiring and distracting her.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Abigail Harkness, 16, Shelburne, Vermont

Something is clogging up
the writing part of my brain,

the part with twists and grooves,
like my willowy, grainy cursive,

Young Writers Project: 'Nightmare'

Apr 20, 2018
Burlington writer Rae Earley reflects on a false vision from a nightmare and the emotions she cycles through upon wakening.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Alyson Katon, Essex Junction, Vermont

I always thought that a nightmare had to be a dream provoking fear in someone. But I now know that that is not true. A nightmare can be any unpleasant or distressing dream that causes anger, grief or fear. That night when I woke up with my pillow wet, my cheeks dampened with salty tears and my eyes red not only from sleep, I knew I had had a nightmare. And not just any nightmare – a deep, powerful one that stirred up a whole storm of emotions.

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