Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pittsburgh Teen's Poetry Wins Her a $10,000 Scholarship

Previous winners of the scholarship have gone on to write award-winning novels, poetry and television shows.




photo courtesy of Scholastic

 

Zainab Adisa, a senior at Pittsburgh CAPA School, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She joins an elite group of past recipients of this award, including Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath and Lena Dunham.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the nation’s longest running and most prestigious scholarship program for creative teens. Students in grades 7 through 12 submitted more than 330,000 entries for this year’s competition. Adisa was one of 16 students named a national Gold Medal Portfolio recipient, which is the program’s highest honor and is only available to graduating seniors.

“What I enjoy most about writing poetry is the next level connection I feel when spilling my thoughts out onto the page,” Adisa told Scholastic. “There’s something about the genre that makes me feel like the world I’m has no boundaries. In poetry I am free to use rhythm, stanzas, line breaks, metaphors, etc. to create a world that helps me lay out my thoughts.”

Adisa submitted a writing portfolio of poetry titled “Who We’ve Become” that focuses on her personal experiences regarding race and ethnicity in America.

“Many times my words come from what I experience in everyday life, from social commentary to my culture, which leads to friends and families,” Adisa says. “There’s so much out there to explore so settling for just a few muses wouldn’t be fair.”

Beginning June 2, Adisa’s work will be featured in two locations in New York City: The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery.

Also in June, she will be formally recognized during a ceremony at Carnegie Hall.

 


Language Barrier by Zainab Adisa

I

They say, that to make the th
sound you must put the tip of your
tongue against the tip
of your two front teeth.

The th sound does not come
automatically to me like it does to you.
I was not programmed nor manufactured
to be fluent in English and my grammar
leaves a bit to be desired.

Instead the placement of my tongue
when reading aloud is forced.
And when I'm alone I settle for the sound
of  f so it sounds something like
free instead of three.

II

I spent the first two years of primary education in esl.
As it turns out teeth are necessary
tools when picking up a new language,
losing one is hard enough but losing two
within a week is dire.

They play Simon Says and say point
To your teeth but you can’t when you don’t have any.

In third grade I only knew
compare and contrast.

My sister's math teacher once came to me
in the hall and asked me to pronounce
think:
I grew furious as it came out as fink.
"You're just like your sister," he said.

III

When my mother and I look back
at dusty school pictures she smiles with a deep chuckle
and commends me on the fact
that my two front teeth came in straight.

Yet she doesn’t know the strawberry hue
my cheeks turned when I was unable
to deliver the correct sounds.
She doesn’t know the desire to be
able to speak the words
that dominated the world around me.

My mom says our dialect
does not know the th sound.
We do not know the slick way of the tongue
that winds and slithers like
the river back home.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

House of the Week: South Side Townhouse with Spectacular Views

This end-unit townhouse with incredible, panoramic views of Downtown is sure to take your breath away.

Local Business Owner Pays it Forward

Ed Meyer overcame challenges with the help of others — now he gives back to those in the same situation.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

PIT Turns to CMU to Make Airport Smartest in the World

The airport authority will use minds at CMU to discover ways to make it easier for passengers to get from the terminal’s parking lots to their seat on the plane.

Celebrate August Wilson's Birthday With a King and a Block Party

The ninth play in the 10-part Pittsburgh Cycle will open outside at the August Wilson House.

First Look: Soju in Garfield

Simon Chough’s Korean restaurant is six years in the making.

I Feel Pretty Isn't What You're Expecting (And That's Okay)

Reviews of "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2," plus a rundown of events at the Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival.

Get Your Clark Bars While You Can – They May Soon Be Gone

Production of Pittsburgh native candy bar may halt if the current producer cannot find a new buyer.

Coughlin's Law Wants To Be Your Mount Washington Destination

Notes on the busy new bar and restaurant near Grandview Avenue.

The 2018 Return of the Burgh-y Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's back! From the dog mom to the working mom, we've got you covered with these locally made must-haves.

Patriot Games Can’t Diminish Harrison’s Place in Steelers History

James Harrison intimidated opposing players in a way not seen since the days of Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.

Bruno Sammartino Dies; Wrestling's Longtime Champ Was 82

The Italian-born star died surrounded by family in his adopted home of Pittsburgh.

It’s Road Repaving Season in Pittsburgh. Is Your Street on the List?

The City of Pittsburgh has finalized its street paving plan for 2018. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Three Rivers Champion: James S. Perry

Perry combined his love for athletics and volunteerism to create a youth athletic association that at its height provided organized softball and baseball to more than 350 boys and girls.

Three Rivers Art Festival Brings Music and New Art For 59th Summer

Point State Park, Gateway Center and sites across the Cultural District will host free, world-class art and events during this year’s 10-day festival.

Sound of Silence: Century III to be Sold at Sheriff's Sale

The nearly 40-year-old mall encounters foreclosure once again. Will this sale be the end of the line?

Pittsburgh Riverlife President & CEO Vivien Li Resigns

Li is returning to Boston to be with family members who are in declining health.

The Best Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Wedding Decor

From new decor in the home to donations to charity, check out these ways to repurpose leftover wedding decor.