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: '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.

Young Writers Project: 'Who Are We?'

Nov 3, 2017
Gianluca Audia, 12, of Hanover, N.H., writes about divisions and how we perceive ourselves.
'Throwing Leaves' by Alexandra Contreras-Montesano/Young Writers Project Photo Library

I am who I am,
But, truly, who are we?
I am a human down to a milligram;
We are living beings like a tree.

We all have similar physical features.
We share the world and nature,
Yet we look at ourselves as different creatures
As if we are divided by a great glacier.

Who we truly are is defined by the inside.
Our personality makes us significant.
This is what should make the great divide,
What might separate us as different.
It should not depend on a face.
This we all must embrace.

Young Writers Project: 'Wind Wishes'

Oct 27, 2017
Hazel Civalier, 15, of Burlington writes an appreciation of wind power.
Hazel Civalier

I see 
wind turbines as a soaring bird,
a dove,
carrying green hope through the wind.

They symbolize a future,
a future where this expansive,
sun-washed, green valley
is "marred" 
only by these pearl wind-dancers.

Stained brown posts
and an infinite jumble 
of looping black electrical cord
entangle our homes,
yet they are nearly transparent
to our eyes.

Couldn't a distant white silhouette,
graceful arms turning to give us light
also go unnoticed,
if not admired?

Young Writers Project: 'Old'

Oct 22, 2017
Fiona Goodman, 14, of Brattleboro writes about her fear of growing old, not of dying, but of being “an old lady who sulks ..."
YWP Photo Library, courtesy/Desiree Holmes, Essex Junction

I think a lot about fear
and about death,
and I've come to the conclusion
that I'm not afraid of death.
After all, death is nothing.
And there's no point being afraid of nothing,
since you can't exactly do anything about it,
can you?

Young Writers Project: 'Eclipsed'

Oct 14, 2017
Maisie Newbury, 16, of Weybridge writes about love lost on the day of the solar eclipse, August 21, 2017
'Soulsearch,' by Ava Kendrick/Young Writers Project Photo Library, courtesy

I spent most of today
Floating up in space,
My head in the clouds,
My heart in the air.

Lonna Neidig, 16, of St. Albans writes about the pain caused by inconsiderate, casual racist comments.
Anna Phelps, Wolcott/Young Writers Project Photo Library

I was sitting among tiny, green blades of grass,
listening to a chaotic symphony
of loudspeakers
and bubbling voices.

Young Writers Project: 'Apples'

Sep 29, 2017
Ella Staats, 17, of Burlington, says her poem, 'Apples,' is about "the things we lose as we grow up, something I've been thinking about a lot as I embark on my last year of being a child."
Grace Safford

The trees in the orchard are more ripe with children
than they are with apples.
Fragile branches expose themselves
to be limbs of limber youth,
elbows protruding like gnarls on a tree,
knees scarred like dimpled bark.

Young Writers Project: 'Seen In Roanoke'

Sep 25, 2017
Melissa Wade

Today I saw three children,
they were not much younger than I am –
sixteen, or maybe seventeen years old –
sleeping under an old concrete bridge.

Young Writers Project: 'Daydreaming'

Sep 15, 2017
Ben Stoll, 17, of Georgia, VT, writes about the power of imagination and how daydreaming can lift a person from darkness into the light.
Ben Stoll, Young Writers Project, courtesy

It's an
intrinsic disease,
they told me,
an unfortunate byproduct
of a
non-lucid mind,

Young Writers Project: 'Rainbow'

Aug 18, 2017
Isabel Blankenbaker, 14, of Rutland, writes in response to President Trump’s Twitter announcement on July 26 that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military.
YWP Photo Library, photo by Holly Margulis, South Burlington

It's happening ever so slow,
Day after day,
They're chipping at our rights,
Wearing them away.

Young Writers Project: 'Blueberry Poem'

Aug 11, 2017
Janet McIntosh Barkdoll, 17, of Shoreham wrote “Blueberry Poem” after a quintessential Vermont summer day experience. She recorded the sounds of the blueberry patch – pie tins and birds – for the final two stanzas of her piece.
Bryan Storck

Follow the shade in the morning for as long as you can,
Hopping down the row, down the hill, from bush to bush.
The way the sunlight falls through the hedgerow and the trees above, it
Leaves some shady splotches and then some sun-soaked bits.

In the morning, if you follow the shade you'll stay cooler.
And you'll spend less time bent over picking in the sun
With your shirt climbing up your back,
Leaving your lower back exposed.

Lonna Neidig, a senior at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, writes about her experience growing up as a Chinese adoptee in a white family in Vermont.
Kevin Huang

Every comment echoes and rings in my head.
I know I don't look like them.
I know that my blood doesn't belong to them.
But I love them as my family more than I could for anyone else.

Ben Stoll, 17, wrote this poem about the song he and his younger brother would listen to on the drive to work at a berry farm, which was their first paying job.
Susan Reid, courtesy

Could you play that one song?
You know the one I’m talking about.
You know,
the one we blared from the car stereo,
with all the windows rolled down so all could hear,
the song we would play picking blueberries
in that all-natural,
weed-choked
berry farm.

Young Writers Project: 'Her'

Jun 16, 2017
Eva Rawlings, a rising senior from South Burlington, writes about triumphing over an eating disorder and finally feeling free. She read this piece at Poem City in Montpelier in April.
Susan Reid, courtesy

Look at her scars, they are not mine.
Wrists smell of blood, and of perfume and wine.
It stings me to think how one’s eyes get so cold,
Wrinkles her brow, makes her look far too old.

Susan Reid, courtesy

I’m sitting here at the dining room table and trying to write you a poem.
We’re leaving tomorrow on vacation together, which I guess would be envious to some.

Young Writers Project: 'Through Your Eyes'

Jun 2, 2017
Lila Taylor, a seventh-grade student from Charlotte, writes about her admiration for someone and how she wonders what that person thinks of her.
Lila Taylor, Courtesy

Through my eyes you are beautiful.
The person next to me might not see it.
They might not see the sparkle in your eyes,
the gentle wave of your hair.
But I do.

Morgan Biele, a sophomore from Woodstock, writes an appreciation for her school backpack and all the treasures it holds.
Susan Reid, Courtesy

Like Dora I rely on my pack;
It has every little thing I lack.
The fact I forgot during my test
Is in that book next to the rest.

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