Dear Mr. Arthur Sze,

Being a teenager is always hard and puts you at an awkward time of your life. You are told to be confident, work hard in school, do extra-curriculars, never give up and always make room for down time. I am a fourteen year old girl living this life of trying to please everyone. People have always said, “When you need help, you have teachers, friends, and your parents.” In reality you get the same response, “don’t worry keep trying!”, or “work harder”. Is this really helping you? Or is it secretly a message of “You’re not doing good enough, do better.”

Reading your poem “The Chance” gave me a sign of hope and encouragement. It reminds me that I am still young and powerful. I have the ability to do whatever I want, when I put my mind to it. “Even if the darkness precedes and follows us, we have a chance, briefly, to shine.” This specific line connects with me on an emotional level. I easily get discouraged and am very hard on myself. This reminds me that when I have those dark moments, when it  feels like a dark cloud is towering over my head, that I am a strong, independent, bright girl who has to shine through this moment of darkness and continue to be the best that I can be.

Personally having a connection with your poem, how were you able as an older man, to possibly connect with a young girl? Was this your intention?

“And as I approach thirty, the distances are shorter than I guess?” When I read the poem I think this line is stating that something may look far away, but as you approach the object or milestone it ends up being a misconception. Growing up, you are constantly looking up to role models to help guide you through your adolescence. Subconsciously, being so young and ignorant, we always want something that we can’t have. A milestone many kids yearn for is turning sixteen and being able to drive. We think it takes so long to get there when in reality, this landmark is right before our eyes. In this case, wishing to be a “Grown Up”.

What triggered you to write this poem? Does it come from a certain emotion?

“I want a passion that grows and grows. To feel, think, act, and be defined by your actions, thoughts, feelings.” Going from a co-ed school to an all-girls school for high school was more than a “switch” for me. This was an eye-opening change that has introduced me to a new perspective of feminism. Roland Park educates girls of all ages about the importance of feminism. One of the most important things I have learned these past months, is always follow  what you believe in and never let stereotypes define the person that you are or want to become. Passion plays a tremendous role when trying to find a hobby or a certain skill to try and pursue; this isn’t something you can learn, it’s a drive that comes from within. A supporting environment full of positivity and constructive criticism is how we young girls learn to strive and feed off of our passion to make what we love useful. Outsiders like yourself helps us reinforce our passion and is a reminder to keep doing what we love.

“The mind travels at the speed of light.” Therefore we never stop growing; adolescence is only a stage in the galaxy of life.


Grade 9
Baltimore, MD

dear poet letters