Spring Break Writers Contain Multitudes

Each year, for three days during Spring Break, we invite young writers to join us and work with our inspiring teaching artists, to discover the experience of creating poetry and fiction. This year, we were delighted to meet so many eager, talented, and innovative young people, and we’re very happy to share with you some of the work they created during their time with us.


White Noise

The house was loud. It was filled with the sound of children laughing and crying, of people joking and shouting, of obnoxious music blasted through the stereo, of the loud thumping of a dog’s tail against the table, cats scratching at the door, of faltering classical music, the banging on black and white keys and horse hairs on string, of the volume cranked too high, of people shouting, “Mine!” when the ball is in the air, fighting to be heard because the house is loud.

When the baby sleeps, the people are silent. The house walls still hum with the cool air forcing its way through the still heat of the afternoon, but now the family is quiet inside it. The volume is just loud enough to be heard, the instruments have been packed away, the pets are calmed and fed. Ear buds are inserted so that maybe, the girl thinks, the yelling is gone – never existed. Maybe, she hopes, the noise only ever happened inside her head.

Savannah Jackson
The Girls’ School of Austin, 8th grade

Broken heart


The heart is ripped
The heart is dead
The love is gone
It’s been erased
It won’t come back
It’s swept away
I don’t know what else to say

Mira Devgan
St. Francis School, 4th grade

Birthday Party Balloons

To Surprise

It washes over me,
quicker than quick.
It would have been easier
had you thrown a stick.


At a child’s birthday party,
when the birthday child arrives,
they hide behind a desk, a table, a chair,
and shout:


School has let out for the year.
A child is grinning ear to ear.
He goes home yelling,
“Summer’s here!”
When he gets his grades, well, they’re pretty bad.
His smile is gone, and now he’s sad.


Summer school awaits.
Oh, and you’ll have to get A’s straight.

A man jumps at you on the street.
His clothes aren’t all that neat.


Disheveled and messy, holding a knife,
he pleads, “Give me something to live this life!”

Surprise can be good or bad.
It can drown you, make you feel sad.
Or it can make you feel
gladder than glad!

Listen and hear what I surmise.
I surmise that we will all be surprised!

Amogh Dambal
Canyon Vista Middle School, 7th grade

Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival

To Joy

a pitcher full,
a beauty in the
little things.

Sometimes seen
but always felt.

A twinkle in the eye,
a twinkle in the sky.
The Sun exuding rays
of unseen light.

A twist of fate,
anything great,
roses bloom with the promise
of tomorrow.

Children laughing,
filling the air with a song more beautiful
than the dusky breeze,

The lanterns will light.
We’ll come and go in delight
with nothing but hate
to stop it.

Ishani Pandya
Canyon Vista Middle School, 8th grade


Being a Bug Germ

From the moment I woke up, I realized something: I was very tiny. I thought the only thing that changed was my size, but I was wrong. I looked in a human mirror and saw that I was a very tiny bug germ. I saw that a bug germ is way tinier than the tinest bug. I was going all around the place shouting, “Mom!” and my mom was shouting my name. My mom was so worried about me. My mom also knew this meant I couldn’t go to school. I was so worried I would stay like this forever and ever. I was super scared, until I realized something: that I could go to my science lab and get the potion I needed for myself. I ran to the science lab and went searching for the right potion. At last, I found the right potion. I scampered up the table and put the potion on me. It’s way better being a human than a bug germ.

Sakthivel Vijayakumar
Laurel Mountain Elementary, 2nd grade


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