Welcome to We Hear YA!
Connecting YA Writers with their Teen Audience.
Today: PLEASE CREATE A THUNDEROUS DRUM ROLL OF A WELCOME FOR... Teen poet, activist, and believer in CHANGE - Amanda Gorman!
@AmandaSCGorman is a 16 year-old writer, activist, United Nations Delegate, Harry Potter fan - AND - the 1st EVER LA Youth Poet Laureate.
Words like - Authentic & Revolutionary - simply skim the surface in describing this fierce, young lady. And We Hear YA! is thrilled to share her insights on what it means to be a teen today...
Q: Congrats on becoming the 1st LA Youth Poet Laureate! When will your first poetry book come out? And what aspects of life most fuel your 'voice'?
Thanks! My poetry book will be published in 2015, around June, and there will be a large book sale at the next Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate Commencement Performance.
My emotions definitely affect my voice and the subjects I discuss in my poetry. My observances or sensations that I experience can jolt any inspiration—a newspaper, a conversation, a word. All those reactions settle in the back of my mind and when I’m ready I sit down and write about the ones that seem most urgent.
Q: Voice is essential for YA Books - teens must connect with the voice of the narrator. What types of voices do you connect with most?
I connect most with voices that are authentic. It’s easy these days for authors to follow a cookie-cutter, generic voice in the hope of gaining the same success of other popular writers. However, books hold a lot of power when they follow the true voice of the author and the characters involved. When a voice is authentic and real, when it is unafraid to cut against the grain, when it can leap off the page, that’s when I’m hypnotized by books. I don’t love them because of their similarities. I love them because of the author’s courage to be different, to be bold.
Q: I read on your Twitter feed that you’ve taken part in your school's nonviolent teen protests against police brutality. As a teen, can you share how these recent, violent events have affected your hopes and fears?
Like many people I was deeply affected by the police brutality inflicted within our nation. All in all Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and so many other faceless, voiceless victims exhibit that we need more peace, unity, and tolerance within our communities. The recent violent events did heighten my fears for any man, woman, boy, or girl, walking the streets who may be seen as dangerous because of the color of their skin. However, these tragic occasions of police brutality have just fueled me further to work for peace and justice. I am now more dedicated than ever to try to change communities, and I’m glad that others feel the same way. In this time of darkness, that brings me hope.