Why would teens go to the library to read poetry when they can easily be on Facebook, clicking away at their notifications?
Why would teens read, or even write poetry, when they could be liking photos on Instagram or watching music videos on YouTube?
Why would, and why should, youth treat poetry as relevant?
As a teen myself, I’ve witnessed first-hand the life-changing and fulfilling effects of poetry. Not too long ago, I mounted the stage to read my poetry at a writing workshop, thinking anxiously to myself: Why did I ever volunteer to read my work in front of all these people?! More than being nervous about the quality of my poem, I felt anxious about what my voice would sound like. At the time, I was 14, and still suffering from a speech impediment that had affected me since I began talking. Would the audience understand me? Would they, like most people, wonder what foreign, exotic country I came from, and I would have to tell them that my accent wasn’t an accent at all, but a disability? I clutched my journal tighter in my sweat drenched palms and prayed my clumsiness wouldn’t emerge that instant, causing me to trip on my two left feet. As I stood, I experienced a sudden gratitude for the blinding lights. I couldn’t see everyone’s faces! That made things much easier. I opened my book and began to read.