A poem is like a volcano trying to erupt.
A story is like a wild unknown animal, yet to be discovered.
A play is like a crazy zombie apocalypse.
Because zombies are dumb and funny, wearing crazy hats.
When I write, I feel like a maze that has a-maze-ing ideas.
When I write, I feel like a hero fighting for the weak and making them believe.
by Miguel, 4th grade
Click the media player above to listen to the poem read on Sunny 99.1, KPFT 90.1, and KTRU 96.1 by Mackenzie, WITS Youth Advisory Council Member. The background music is “Tough Guy” by Akashic Records. Produced by Susan Phillips.
Poem a Day is made possible in part by H-E-B, Copy.com, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Texas Commission on the Arts, KPFT 90.1, Sunny 99.1, and KTRU 96.1.
My best Christmas was two years ago because somebody my dad knew from work invited us to his apartment to celebrate. When my dad and I got to the apartment, we marveled that it was so pretty. All the decorations were nice because the guy my dad knew from work put a lot of effort into them. Decorations were all over the apartment. There were candles, presents, lights, and lots of food. My dad and I sat on the sofa. We met some people at the party who we didn’t know, friends and relatives of our host. All of us ate chicken sandwiches and drank sodas. I couldn’t help staring at the tree and how it was decorated with lights, ornaments, a star on top, and especially, presents underneath.
When it was time to open the presents, everybody did, except me and my dad because our host didn’t get us any, and his guests didn’t know us. So you might think that I was sad. But here’s the best part of all: a lady at the party gave me a present. She went to her room and came back and gave me a present! I opened the present, and it was a shirt, and it fit, and I thanked her because she gave me a present. I didn’t know her, but she was nice to me. To tell the truth, I prefer a Wii or Xbox game for a gift rather than a shirt. My dad didn’t care about himself. He was happy that I got a present. My dad felt as good as I did.
When it was at 12 o’clock, it was time for my dad and me to go. When we got back home, my dad and I went to sleep. The next day I wore the shirt.
By Onasis Rodriguez, 8th Grade
This essay was written by a WITS student a number of years ago but remains a favorite. We thought we’d re-share it with you today.
Is your teen looking for something to do over winter break? They could be writing original work and submitting to these amazing publishing opportunities.
ONE TEEN STORY
ONE TEEN STORY is an award-winning quarterly literary magazine that features the work of today’s best teen writers (ages 13 to 19). One Teen Story is looking for stories about the teen experience, especially dealing with issues of identity, friendship, family, and coming-of-age. They publish 4 stories a year, with subscribers receiving one great short story at a time in print or on their digital devices. Submissions are free and open from now until May. Read more here.
The Claremont Review publishes the best poetry, short stories, short plays, visual art, and photography by young adults (ages 13 to 19) from anywhere in the English speaking world. They publish work in many styles that range from traditional to modern, preferring pieces that explore real characters and reveal authentic emotion. Submissions are free and open from now until April 30th.
The Claremont Review also hosts an Annual Art and Writing Contest for contestants aged 13-19, with prizes of up to $1,000 CAD. Submissions open in January and should be postmarked by March 15th. Read more here.
The University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, in recognition of the Professional Writing Program’s 65th anniversary in the college, invites submissions for the 2017 Foster-Harris Prizes for Young Writers. Two $500 awards will be given, one for a short story of up to 1000 words by a high school student and another for a short story of up to 2000 words by an undergraduate student. There is no entry fee.
The University of Oklahoma’s Professional Writing Program offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees focused on creative writing for publication, including fantasy, horror, mystery, suspense, romance, and other popular fiction genres, as well as screenwriting and commercial nonfiction. The program focuses on building a writing career by learning the business of publishing while studying creative writing under award-winning, best-selling professors with long and successful publication histories. For more information, click here.
Entrants will retain all rights to their entries. Entries must include a header with the student’s name, school, and email address. They should use a 12-point font and be formatted with one-inch margins and page numbers.
To submit, email the story as a Microsoft Word attachment to Harris.PrizeATouDOTedu.
Students currently enrolled in a U.S. high school, grades 9-12, should use this header:
Harris Prize for High School Students
Students currently enrolled as an undergraduate in a U.S. college or university should use this header: Harris Prize for Undergraduate Students
Entries must be received by March 1, 2017 at noon. Winners will be announced in May 2017.
Mary Anna Evans, Assistant Professor
Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications
University of Oklahoma
For further information on Harris Prize, email Harris.Prize@ou.edu
For information on the Professional Writing program, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The outside of the house has bright red bricks and dark green tiles on the roof. Her path to the front door is so pretty. It has all kinds of rocks that are yellow and orange. Her front porch has a long swing where at least three people can fit. Her swing is hard as a rock, with flowers all over it, all a different color. It’s the only place where I can calm down and just relax. Her backyard is gigantic. She has her vegetable garden there: tomatoes, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, and potatoes.
I can smell flowers, chicken soup, lemonade, and my favorite perfume: Chanel No. 5. All of these smells will never leave her house. Even when we clean her house and spray different things, these smells never leave. I will always remember these smells. Even though they are just scents, these scents can also have memories.
I can hear bird calls. Each time is different. I think they are singing, but really they’re just talking to each other. I can hear the leaves rustling whenever the wind is strong. I can hear the squirrels running around and playing, and sometimes it sounds like they are laughing. My grandma’s house is never silent and is always talking.
I can feel the warmth from the oven whenever my grandma is baking cake or cookies. I can feel the porcelain dolls my grandma collected. I can feel the love my grandma gives me, and anyone who enters her house can feel it, too.
I always water the flowers whenever my grandma can’t. I like playing with the mysterious cat that comes to visit me. I also like playing with my best friends, the twins Liliana and Eva. Even though I can’t sit on my grandma’s lap like I used to, I sit next to her on her favorite couch and we talk for hours. I can never bear when we have to leave and come back to Houston, but there is always another summer vacation.
Date: December 3, 2016
Location: Morris Frank Library | 10103 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77035
Join the WITS Youth Advisory Council on Saturday, December 3rd, at 2pm at the Morris Frank Library for the Soapbox Nonfiction Slam. This event is free and open to youth ages 13-19. Bring your most interesting holiday story to share (5 minutes max) and wear your best holiday sweater. Prizes for the best stories!
#NaNoWriMo sounds like nonsense, right? But it’s a real thing — November is National Novel Writing Month — and there’s a version of the project retooled especially for young writers and their teachers. You can think of NaNoWriMo as a boot camp to help writers at any level produce a first draft of a novel in 30 days. Participation is free and so much fun. Check out the Young Writers Project.