By Nicolás Vergara
There is a popular myth in poetry that says your best poems can´t be written after 19 years of age. This is because of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who decided to stop his production in order to explore other dimensions of life, and in doing that he became an icon in poetry (There are so many poems about Rimbaud’s decision).
At the end of 2016, Toronto Public Library published a collection of teen writing and visual arts called “The Young Voices 2016: magazine of teen artist and visual art.” I saw the publication when I was waiting for a friend outside of a washroom. I took it home, thinking there may be some information about a generation that it is still hard for me to understand. I wanted to understand what it means to be a poet when you are 16 years old, raised in Toronto and born in the 2000s.
When it comes to writing (the magazine has many drawings too) it seems that one of the things teenagers are concerned about is the digital age. Some of the essays reminded me of the enthusiasm of the Italian futurism and its profundity. This teenager generation is ready to defend their way of living, which includes snapchat, Facebook and smartphones, blended with the values and the Canadian History that they learned from school.
My commentaries are not fair with the content: it’s better to see an example:
one week in august,
when my sister hung our laundry on the line
with her two chapped hands,
she found a sliver of moon as thin as rice paper
crumpled neatly in the basket –
still soggy, she hung it up to dry
next to my red shirt,
where it dripped fat gobbets of silver
and sloughed off skin, shiny as pearl and cracked as eggshell
, that melted like butter in the hot, dead grass
Nelka Jankechova, age 14
If you are interested in reading the complete magazine you can see it here.
Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto.