Teens work through issues through poetry and prose 

  • The title page for an anthology written by teens involved in the Avenue A Writing Club that meets on Tuesday evenings in Antrim.  Courtesy photo—

  • The Avenue A Writing Club listens as a member reads at one of its weekly meetings in Antrim. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 11:3PM

Isabel Dreher said she sat down one night and angrily typed out a draft of a poem called “Scars” that is the only piece of writing that she has ever read aloud and has made people cry. 

Dreher, who is a junior at ConVal, said the piece is about watching a good friend go through a difficult time. 

“And now I don’t even know if I remember

What you look like when you are truly happy

When the eyes light up, and all the teeth show

You are struck down again and again

You are getting used to the ground, the dirt

And it gets harder and harder to pull you back up” 

The poem is one of 10 she wrote that will be included in a 147-page anthology compiled by teens involved in the Avenue A Writing Club in Antrim. The book titled “I Need to See This on Paper” is part of a project called Write Out!, which includes writing by teens that covers a wide array of subjects. 

Jacqueline Roland –  coordinator of the Avenue A Teen and Community Center, a program of the Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center — said teens have been writing, revising, and sharing work that will be included in the anthology for about a year now. 

“The goal of the anthology is to break down stigma surrounding depression, anxiety, body image, gender identity and other challenges teens face through poetry and prose,” Roland said. 

Cynthia West, who volunteers every week at the club, said she has watched the students work on writing samples for about eight months. 

She said the teens writing often tackles difficult subject matter. West said there were times when she left the writing club on Tuesday evenings feeling overwhelmed by the issues writers were going through. Mostly though, she was grateful for the opportunity to listen. 

Now, she said, the teens are sharing their writing with an even wider audience. 

“The goal is to show teens in different situations that their feelings and emotions are actually age appropriate,” West said.

She said the teens are especially interested in connecting with others their age who may be from broken or less disadvantaged homes. The idea is to bridge the gap between disadvantaged youth and those from “perfect homes.” 

Roland said the anthology also hopes to bridge the gap between teens and adults.

“Many teens feel isolated in their struggles and are reluctant to talk about them. At the same time, adults can feel disconnected from these experiences and find it hard to relate,” Roland said. “The anthology bridges this gap through writing.”

Roland said with the help of two major grants and generous donations from local businesses, she hopes to have the book printed within the coming weeks. Once it’s printed, the anthologies will be for sale at local events, at local retailers like the Toadstool Bookshops, and on the Grapevine’s website. The club also has intentions of giving copies of the anthology to at-risk and unheard teenagers as a way to connect with disadvantaged youth across the state.

Dreher said she wrote the poem “Scars” was different than most other pieces she’s worked on. She wrote it in one draft, which can happen when inspiration strikes.

“And I wish so much

That you could see yourself 

Through my eyes

And then you would not doubt

You would spring back up when knocked down

And you would radiate confidence wherever you went” 

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.