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: '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.

Young Writers Project: 'Fairytales'

Apr 13, 2018
Student-writer Rebecca Orten of Middlebury gives a nod to the outdated archetype of the damsel in distress and flips the point of view. She shows us her interpretation of the hardships faced by these spirited women of our favorite childhood stories.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Hazel Civalier, 15, Burlington, VT

They called her rose, briar rose.
But when she bloomed, they cowered.
She raised her voice, her petals to the sun,
and stained scarlet much more than her lips.
So they put her to sleep.

They called her sunshine,
and swathed her in golden curls.
But when she shone, their eyes blistered,
and when she burned, they couldn't see through the smoke.
So they locked her in a tower.

Young Writers Project: 'Stories From Israel'

Apr 6, 2018
Young Writers Project Photo Library, photo by Sophie Dauerman

Big plane, big wings,
and small seats,
jammed together
like packing peanuts in a moving box.
Sweaty thighs sticking,
and long nights of flight-map watching.

Young Writers Project: 'Home'

Mar 26, 2018
Richmond, Vermont, student Leo Powers renews our appreciation for the outside world. He expands on the idea of Mother Nature as a grand and beautiful force, to describe her also as a place: his home.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Abigail Harkness, Shelburne, Vermont

One thing I know for sure
is that I’ll always have a home. Always.
Never will I find her farther away
than one step outside the door.
I have only to cross a threshold
before entering a beautiful new world.

Writing about writing is no piece of cake as South Burlington student and member of Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC), Kiran Waqar pens a personal essay comparing the creative process to a slice of cake.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Ella Larson, Essex Junction

The dark, decorated exterior of the ganache-glazed chocolate cake tempted me as I imagined the rich taste I would experience with my first bite. I imagined the enthusiasm of my taste buds as they encountered the ornamented maraschino cherries sprinkled amongst the dollops of buttercream frosting.

Young Writers Project: 'Piano Man'

Mar 9, 2018
Maisie Newbury, 17, of Weybridge, shares the tale of an aging piano player imparting uncondescending wisdom upon a younger generation.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Neelie Markley, Burlington

He spoke about the news stories.
But it was in a different sort of way,
making unspeakable tragedies
a little easier to say.

Young Writers Project: 'February 21, 2018'

Mar 2, 2018
 Senior Ben Stoll writes about his personal experience with school violence this past February at Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Kassidy Mannings, Essex Junction, Vermont

PRESS RELEASE:

 Anna Phelps, 15, of Wolcott, Vermont, offers a glimpse into the daily life of a student tormented by bullies.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Courtney Volk, Essex Junction, Vermont

Day 1 of 7:

They were listening through the cracks in the wall.
I could hear them whispering,
giggling at the snorts from my nose.

Such a cry baby.
She'll never know we're here.
Completely oblivious to everything.

I wonder if they knew
I was crying over them.

Day 2 of 7:

I always cry discreetly after Spanish.
It's a given.
They knew that.

The course isn't even that hard.
She just wants attention.
She must have been raised by storm clouds or something.

Young Writers Project: 'Real Americans'

Feb 9, 2018
Isabel Blankenbaker writes in response to the Young Writers Project prompt asking what it means to be a real American.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Hazel Civalier, Burlington, VT

Calling all the real Americans!
I’ve voiced it before and I know what it means.
I remember the term, but not pleasantly.
I suck in breath, knowledge seeping in.
I know where I’ve heard it before:
in a small sleepy town,
where they used it against me.

Young Writers Project: 'Schizo'

Feb 2, 2018
Sara Young, 17, of Sheldon writes about how she wishes she had known a relative before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano, Burlington

I wish I had known you
before the darkness crept in,
before the voices whispered,
before the demons lurked in every corner.
Kind, compassionate, caring.
All manner of “C” sounds to describe you then.
They describe you now still,
only changed.
Only not.
It first manifested
ceaseless, complex, cacophonic.
Your diary read, “I can’t take this,”
and you hit your mother with a wrench,
or so you thought.
Meal time was spent on the porch, alone.
Inside the house, siblings laughed.

Young Writers Project: 'Teachers Say, Students Say'

Jan 26, 2018
Maddie Thibault is a 12-year-old seventh grader from Vermont.
Young Writers Project Photo Library, photo by Desiree Holmes

*NOTE: Some readers may find the language within the writing selection offensive*

Teachers say you're perfect.
They say don't listen to hate; but how do you not listen to hate when it surrounds you?

Young Writers Project: 'That Kind Of Writing'

Jan 19, 2018
In this piece, Nora Wootten, 13, of Cornwall, Vt., explains why she writes – not for a grade or to meet school standards, but to write about “what matters” and what people will listen to.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Kevin Huang, Burlington

I want
to write.
No, not like that,
silly –
not the little
dizzy
scribbles
that pass for
a grade.

Young Writers Project: 'Telephone'

Jan 12, 2018
Janet McIntosh Barkdoll, 18, of Shoreham, Vermont, responds to a Young Writers Project prompt to go without your cell phone for 24 hours and see what it’s like.
YWP Photo Library, photo by MacKenzie Rivers, Essex Junction

You know, I saw this prompt while speaking on the phone
to a friend.
And while I so very much agree
that life away from screens is, well, critical for us
I considered, briefly, what I would have missed that day
without my phone.

Young Writers Project: 'Waterfalls'

Jan 9, 2018
In the depths of winter, Adelle MacDowell, 14, of Johnson, VT brings us a summer memory – the excitement of meeting friends at a Vermont waterfall and spending the day jumping, swimming, laughing.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Desiree Holmes, Essex Junction

Dappled sun that finds its way through the leaves and branches
Draws patterns on my arms, and it is a funny kind of quiet here, the sound
Muffled by the rushing waterfalls
A little chill creeps up my legs and arms and I almost, almost give in to the shiver
Toes curled against the slick moss black rock, here a shard of glass from
A beer bottle someone smashed; some idiot found their way into this sanctuary
Letting my towel fall from my shoulders and taking a tiny step forward
Deep, black water, cliff undercut and waterfalls tumbling down above

Young Writers Project: 'Photographs'

Dec 20, 2017
Iris Robert, 13, of South Burlington says this poem, "...came from how pictures capture just a fragment of people and the world around them.” 
YWP Photo Library, photo by Gabrielle McKitty, Essex Junction

Oh, the ways that photographs lie.
A millisecond caught
with frozen faces
and lying eyes.

Ben Stoll, 18, of Georgia, VT, writes about a surprising personal victory when he’s pushed to the limit by a relentless running buddy.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Caleb Dudley, Essex Junction

You wanted to race

in the dark.

I looked at you

with a droopy frown

and eyes filled with disbelief.

Young Writers Project: 'Life With Autism'

Dec 1, 2017
YWP Photo Library, photo by Regan Day, Essex Junction

The autistic mind is a very complex mechanism. Take it from me. I am on the autism spectrum. People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) see, hear, sense, and process the world in completely different ways than neurotypical people.

Young Writers Project: 'No Longer, Not Yet'

Nov 25, 2017
Anna Phelps, 15, of Wolcott writes about the “thick fog of our hearts,” the regrets and confusion of a complicated relationship that ends.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Josina Munson, Essex Junction

Your fingers made ruptures on my heart,
as our feet moved not too fast,
and our minds thought not too slow.
Your hand swings by,
to say a little hi,
but I pull away.

No longer, not yet.

You’re a man on fire,
and I’m a girl of flames.
But I burnt holes into your metaphorical image,
and now you’re waiting,
for your opportunity to do the same.

No longer, not yet.

Young Writers Project: 'Colors'

Nov 17, 2017
Joshua Santora, 16, of Burlington created a slam poem about how color – the pigment of one’s skin – causes inequality.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Destiny Bullard, Essex Junction

What color would I lose?
I’d lose all colors.
Why?
I would make no distinction between things.
Everything would be the same color.
I wouldn’t see just a bright color

Young Writers Project: 'Dyslexia'

Nov 10, 2017
Young Writers Project Photo Library, photo illustration by Alexa Dally, Essex Junction

The letters
drift off the page and
twist themselves into tiny
balls of confusion,
tripping over each other
and swirling into spirals.

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