This year I had the honor of being among some of the most talented young creative writers in Austin. Young people of all ages crowded a banquet room brimming with beautiful floral bouquets, dressed tables, and a mini red carpet just for them. Vision + Voice has had an impressive 4 year run and as the years go by the number of student poetry writers increases and amazes. I had a chat with several of these young writers and couldn’t help but fawn over the mix of adorable and well thought out interview answers, many of which impressed me.
My first interview hailed from a tiny kindergartner from Rodriguez elementary. Xavier, author of Monster Truck, was quick to tell me that he wrote about monster trucks because they were his favorite and with the help of his mom and his teacher he went on to enter Vision + Voice and was excited about all the attention.
I just really like Monster Trucks.
Eleventh grader and author of Badland, Saylor had more to share about her experience writing a piece about her home in Arizona and the desert she often found herself missing.
This piece was written in class and with the help of my teacher I really got to develop it. My piece is about a desert storm which was inspired by my home in Phoenix so I describe a lot of what would happen during a storm like the sand slicing through like shards of glass after the sweltering heat. There are always huge dust storms every year and I kept remembering that and it really stuck out for me visually. I was really excited to have been selected since this is my first time trying to do something like this and I hope I can do it again next year.
While some of the older students knew exactly how they felt about their piece, one little six year old wasn’t too sure why she wrote hers and was quick to let me know she wasn’t sure why she wrote any of it at all. Elle, author of Whale, wrote one of the most eclectic poems of the evening so I can understand how she even stumped herself.
I’m 6 and my teacher is Mrs. Gonzalez and I wrote Whale. I don’t know why I wrote about whales but I wrote it at home. I don’t know why I wrote a lot of it.”
Some of the best quotes of the evening:
Ryan H/ Second Grade – Tsunami
I like to write about natural disasters and I decided to write about a Tsunami. I’m going to try again next year and I don’t know if I’ll write about natural disasters again.
Lily/ Sixth Grade – The Heart Hears Music
I really like nature and I go hiking a lot and it inspired me to write this poem. I’m going to try out next year because this made me feel like I can do this again.
Blayce/ Ninth Grade- Nothing
I wrote most of this at school but after showing my mom she really supported me and encouraged me to enter. I was in class and our teacher had the assignment up and I didn’t know what else to write about so I just wrote about “nothing.” It seemed fitting.
Martha/ Fourth Grade – Time
I don’t know what I was doing when I wrote it but I had just finished eating and I guess I was thinking about time.
Miranda/ Tenth Grade – Light (and Not)
My piece was about a trail by my house that me and my dad go to. It’s a really beautiful trail but it’s right by a highway so it’s really cool seeing the difference and I thought I’d write about. It was an assignment first and our teacher said to write about something that makes us happy and that kept coming to mind.
Alyssa/Second Grade – Christmas
I was thinking about Christmas and in class we had to write a poem about Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll do this again next year.
One of my favorite and longest interviews of the evening came from a Fifth Grader named Janhavi who wrote the piece, “Flow of Life.”
Well there are a lot of things going on in the world like wars and troubles and world hunger and racism, there’s child slavery and I can’t do anything about it. So what I thought…one day I was watching a TED Talk about world hunger and I got really sad so I sat on my porch and started thinking. I started thinking of this poem and I love music so I started writing down the poem like a song and then I showed it to my parents and they loved it. I actually wrote this in 3rd grade but didn’t enter it until this year. I think I’ll do this again next year even if I don’t make it, it’s good to try. I really have a big interest in archaeology and astronomy and while I liked doing this my mom told me that I don’t have to have just one niche I can do a lot of different things so I’m not sure if I’ll try this again next year. Maybe I’ll try something else.
With the chatter of excited voices, the dim lighting, and the smells coming from the deliciously catered food the air in the room was electric with promise. So many young and talented people shared their gift with family, teachers, friends, and the faculty and staff of AISD and ACC. I can only assume next year will be just as amazing.