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Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011 08:41 pm

Anthology publishes poetry of area teens


In Step - digital photograph by Carly Hunt, Glenwood High School

Several local students recently had poems and/or artwork accepted for publication in the annual teen poetry anthology, Navigating the Maze. The book was published by central Illinois’ nonprofit literary organization, Springfield Poets and Writers, and is supported in part by The Vachel Lindsay Association.

Now in its 12th year of publication, NTM accepts submissions from around the world, and each year publishes the best of all entries received. This year’s paperback book is 108 pages with interior artwork in grayscale. Out of all artwork submitted, one piece is chosen for a color cover each year. This year’s cover art is a photograph, Youth, by Peter LaBerge of Connecticut.

Several central Illinois English and art teachers go the extra mile for their students and submit their work for consideration each year. Among these teachers are Glenwood High School’s Keith Kelley, Amy Lynn and Nikki Brawner, Rochester’s Suzanne Pettyjohn and Karen Zeilger, Taylorville’s James Cook, Williamsville’s Ted Morrissey and Gillespie’s Kaye Henderson.  Springfield Poets and Writers mission is to support and inspire the literary arts. For teachers or others who would like more information about this central Illinois organization, or for students who would like to submit their work, visit the Springfield Poets and Writers website at www.pwlf.com.

Below are some of the works published in this year’s anthology.

Anita Stienstra, calendar editor of Illinois Times, is president of Springfield Poets and Writers.

Navigating the Maze: International teen poetry anthology, published by Springfield Poets and Writers, Adonis Designs Press. 108 pages, $9.95. Available from Adonis Designs Press, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, the Vachel Lindsay Home, or your favorite on
The Owl

A large round hole in a tree
And a large-eyed owl looking at me.
His face is feathered black
His eyes are flecked with gold.
His coal black wings are tucked to his sides
His talons are sharp and cold.
He rises in soundless flight
Graceful creature of deepest night.
He disappears into the gloomy wood,
More silently than any hunter could.
I see no more of my owl there
Till a gentle coo breaks morning’s air.

Taylor Rossi

The Key to Friendship

The key to friendship...
Is not in the hand you hold,
But how you hold the hand.
It’s not in the tears you dry,
But all the reasons why.
It’s not how you make a person smile,
But whether or not it’s worthwhile.
It’s not in the conversation,
But in the way you listen.
It’s not in the laughter,
But what comes before and everything after.
The key to friendship…
Is not in two people relating,
But in two hearts communicating.
Thank you for being that very special friend,
Who understands the key to friendship,
And how to unlock everything within.

Nakita McMillin & Debanhi Cuevas
Gillespie Middle School

Untitled - Anna Hogdson, Glenwood High School
Cherry Trees

The pink cherry tree,
Blowing softly in the breeze,
Like no tomorrow.

The red cherry tree,
Blowing softly in the breeze,
Up on the mountain.

In the warm autumn,
One fallen leaf ’neath a tree,
In the rock garden.

Ross Jones
Rochester Jr. High School


Never a speck of spontaneous sparkle.
Rarely, you would appear in my presence softly speaking the words,
“Never forget me; our friendship.”
But, the memories, a thick mirage and hot desert, my mind.
A face, longingly enveloping the smiles.
A soft whisper of secrets ringing through each other’s ears.
A boat, floating in the murky lake water slowly waiting for a dock in which to entangle itself.
And then a memory, an eagle pulling with sharp talons in furious grasp,
The heartbeats heard by both as our hands clasped together.
And then...nothing,
Never a speck of spontaneous sparkle.

Elizabeth Choquet Choat


Strange. Empty.
Door flung wide open.
Like something had escaped.
Like the empty, two story tomb.
Already packed our bags,
The last evidence that the family ever lived here
Already gone.

Erin Burris
Glenwood High School

These Small Iron Gates

The green grass
and newly fallen
autumn leaves
caress the desolate

The tombstones
break through
the earth like untold stories
waiting to be told.

The old sturdy trees
with their limbs spread
wide protect
the souls below.

Flowers propped against the tombstones,
some vibrant with life and color,
some dried up
and color long gone
just like the people they were for.

I can hear cars
speeding by
not knowing,
not paying attention to
the stories that lie within
these small iron gates that
never close nor open.

Channing Fullaway


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