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.

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.

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.

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