Young Writers Project: Narges Anzali, Andrew Knight & Davie Joy Holzhammer
Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve, and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences, and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and “The Voice,” a digital magazine with YWP’s best writing, images, and features. More information is available at youngwritersproject.org, [email protected] or 802- 324-9538.
This month, YWP presents a Community Journalism Project (CJP) feature as well as general writing responses. The CJP is a new initiative established to help share the voices of young Vermonters on issues shaping their lives and their futures through writing and photo challenges, journalism skill-building, workshops, and newspaper publication.
The featured CJP response is from Narges Anzali of Weybridge.
We watch the news, and fear.
There are angry tears a lot nowadays.
Being an Iranian in America
is terrifying sometimes, knowing
that the countries you’re a part of
both hate each other.
It poisons you from within.
My mother prays for the people
detained at the border,
who share our stories, share
our features and our country.
My father prays for our family
and for all the people left behind,
who share our faces, share
our blood and our love.
I pray for ourselves because they taught us
what happened during World War II,
and you can love the U.S. but not trust it.
I’d never realized how quickly this country
could change its mind about you — but
then the travel ban happened, and now this.
My people are not criminals,
though you have made them out to be.
My people love dancing and singing,
and getting together with relatives,
and staying up late with tea and gossip.
My people are not statistics.
They are not emotionless numbers,
they are not expressionless black chādors
and terrifying men with beards.
I am useful to this country,
until I am not.
I am valuable to this country,
until I am the problem.
I am building this country,
until it’s decided I’m the one tearing it down.
And sometimes, I don’t know
how to carry on with a smile on my face…
— Narges Anzali, 14, Weybridge
Excerpted from original. Read complete poem at youngwritersproject.org/node/31212
This scene’s all right —
don’t think it was here before.
Makes you forget what you came here for.
It appeals to the nocturnal breed.
As they lead, they’re looking to feed.
All, watch your backs tonight.
You call this entertainment?
I say it’s a distraction.
You say it’s the future?
I call it counteraction.
Your news: just my old being resold.
We can’t hear what we’re told.
Time to hit the ground running.
You think you’ll manufacture
the coming of the new age?
Try throwing a shaky-kneed kid up on stage,
and watch as the revolution is rebirthed.
You can’t control us —
we’re not of this Earth.
— Davie Joy Holzhammer, 16
The loudest noise I’ve ever heard
A deafening CRACK, and everyone hides,
as wicked blue lines dance across the gray sky
and thunder booms through the valley.
This is nature in its infinite might, laughing.
— Andrew Knight, 18
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