This April, in honor of National Poetry Month, the poetry section is featuring the work of 10 extraordinary Asian American high school writers. Their poems celebrate their identities and experiences navigating the complexities of growing up in America today. Below you will find a table of contents with links to each piece. We hope this incredible group of writers inspires you as much as they have inspired us.
— Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Poetry Editor
In 2018, high school students David Hogg, Emma González, Jaclyn Corin, and Matt Deitsch received the International Children's Peace Prize for their work organizing March for Our Lives in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In 2019, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist and founder of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. All around the world, teens are doing extraordinary things. It is easy to forget to listen for their voices in the clamor of living. We wanted to give a space for high school students to be heard and celebrated during poetry's most popular month. We invited students from the Kundiman Youth Leadership Intensive and Adroit Summer Mentorship Program to participate and to include an author's note with each poem in order to enlarge the spaces in which they can speak freely about their experiences, inspirations and motivations. Their poems ask bold and intimate questions, span histories and other vast divides and dream with great tenderness. We invite you to share this space together with the voices of the next generation of Asian American poets.
Olivia Hu: "I Swallow a Nest"
Kaylee Jeong: "Intercession Prayer"
Mei Kane: "Self-Portrait with Fingers"
Audrey Kim: "Bildungsroman with Open Windows"
Lauren Kim: "Korean War"
Anne Kwok: "A Mother's Welcome"
Emily Tian: "vera wang"
Anna Wang: "Interruption for Sunflower"
Grace Wang: "Confessions to My Father"
Adam Zhou: "A Beginner's Guide to the Chinese Language"