NYWC Summer Youth Workshops: The Nation Is Controlled By…

Welcome to NYWC’s Fort Greene Park Summer Writing Series, featuring the powerful poetry and prose from writers age 6 to 17. Every Saturday morning, young people have gathered in Fort Greene Park to participate in NYWC’s free writing workshops for youth. At the end of the summer, we hope you’ll join us  for the 9th Annual Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival on August 24, where you’ll get to hear these young voices of tomorrow share their work alongside other award-winning poets and writers. Enjoy!

Imagine if everything you’ve been told about our nation is false. Imagine if you lived in a world where someone watched you every instant of your life, and your choices were not yours to make. Who holds the reins of power? How do we fight back? Can we fight back at all?

The Nation in a Notebook
by Sarah Dobrowolski, age 17

The nation was controlled by a pen and a notebook. The girl discovered she could choose the evening news by writing it in a green journal with ink-blotted pages. It started when her big brother was robbed and she wrote, “I wish the thief were caught.”  In five minutes the police called and informed them that the man was captured. Was it mere coincidence? Soon she was locking up gangs, just with two lines in her notebook. Soon she ended obesity. She wrote three pages one night about drug addiction, and the next morning she heard every rehab center in the country was full. She reversed murders and eliminated the killers before they could strike. But, it started with subtle opposites. One day she cured a boy with cancer; the next day he was ill again. Soon each action she wrote was negated. Someone, somewhere else in the nation was writing a war with her—a war she could not erase.

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Big Brother
by Iniko Thornell, age 15

The nation was controlled by beliefs
Little words as thin as air
Unread fine print and big bold propaganda
Figure heads and common enemies
Pursued, caught, shot
Cameras panning through dimly lit
Bus stops
Only the worst seemed to make the news
But they told us, it was for safety
But was it? Could it be?
But big brother watched
As we cooked our dinner and
Laughed with friends
As life seemed to pass
Falling from our fingers
As we gave way
To what we were told
As we believed what was
Unbelievable only yesterday
As we took it all for granted
And watched our freedom fade
Away
Until we could no longer remember
What it was that we really wanted