Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Adele Steiner & the Young Writer's Corner

Workshop leader Adele Steiner--and her young workshop participants--are my guests today. Adele Steiner has a B.A. & M.F.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing (Poetry) (University of Maryland). She has been a Poet-in-the-Schools poet, a Maryland State Arts Council grant winner; a veteran artist in residence at Georgetown University Hospital. She's the author of Refracted Love and Freshwater Pearls. Her work has appeared in Wordwrights, Maryland Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Smartish Pace, Promise, and So To Speak. She will be leading two workshops for young people beginning October 31st--Poetry and Narrative Verse for Teens and Kids Write for Kids (8 to 11 year olds)

Welcome to the Young Writers’ Corner!

Many thanks again to Kyle at The Writer’s Center for yet another opportunity to feature the poetry written by students in my workshop, Poetry and Narrative Verse for Teens.

The work I have chosen for this next publication comes from the Mandala Workshop. Mandalas are circular, symmetrical designs that have been used for centuries in Eastern as well as Native American religions as guides to enlightenment. Their various geometric patterns represent the harmony of the cosmos; and Buddhists believe that creating them as well as meditating on them promotes deep states of mental concentration.

Wondering whether the intricately beautiful patterns of the Mandala might sitr the imaginations of young writers and provide them with creative inspiration, I constructed a workshop around the use of the Mandala. I found that in my work at the Writer’s Center, and, in particular, with this most recent group of talented young writers in Poetry and Narrative Verse for Teens, the Mandalas worked their magic. So enjoy!

Adele Steiner

"Refusing Defeat"

I sliced Mr. Pac Man’s tail off with a butter knife, but it grew back.
He hissed at me and slithered into an anthill, an intruder of the Earth’s crust—
into a trumpet.
The monstrous drip-castle comes into view beyond a watery valley
of lily pads and barbed wire.
The dusty Earth is slippery with spilled milk, fried eggs.
Broken glass dots the cratered floor and glistens.
Mr. Pac Man is nowhere to be found, but I sense him
behind each arrowhead.
Perhaps he has regenerated infinitely, just like his silken tail.
The sound of his sandpaper beard still rings in my ears,
still sends shivers down my spine.
Lustrous ghosts dance around the marble cross, statuesque,
hanging before the eventual entrance.
They try to engage me in a game of peek—boo.
How ignorant they are.
I should leave, but I crouch at the base of the castle
and await my moody prisoner.
He iso n his way.
When he finally gives up, waving that white flag of surrender in my face,
His beard begins to fall out.
I smile wickedly
and ride with him on the backs of seahorses into the sunset.

Molly (age 16)

Her heart lies in the middle of burning flames
Spreading quickly and wildly
Taking whatever comes in their way.
Her hopes, dreams, and fears disappear.
If frustration takes over,
She may lose sight of her hopes and dreams,
The ones she feared she’d never achieve.
Her heart lies in the middle of burning flames.
They’re too wild to be tamed.
She’ll watch helplessly, becoming heartless
Just like the rest of the world.

Karina (age 16)

"At Everest’s Peak"

At Everest’s Peak
Gazing into the unknown
I’m flying in my heart
Falling in my fears

Screaming blizzard
Howling wind
Biting chill
At Everest’s Peak

Luci (age 13)


Spinning, overlapping eyes
Torment awaiting symmetry.
Behold the death of time in an instant.

An explosion of lost paths. Choose?
A plain, colorless, and intangible illusion

Spinning unrequited hallucinations
This fake reality.

There is no way out of this.
All is nothing.

Camilla (age 15)

"The Zen Wristwatch"

All is not done.
For all has not begun.
It is just
Merely going, going.
Once here,
Always there.
Twice here,
Never there.
Does that make sense?
Of course not.
For that was another time,
And another time is not now—
In fact, now is not now either.
Now is earlier
When later is now—
Does that make sense?
Of course not.
I’ll tell you later,
just not now.

Christopher (age 15)

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