Youth Programs

Our Chapbooks Turn Ten!

In 2010, Mary Rechner and Mel Wells, then Director of Youth Programs and WITS Assistant, launched the addition of a digital chapbook to expand avenues for publication to Writers in the Schools students in Portland.

In the decade since, Youth Programs at Literary Arts has published nearly two dozen chapbooks in addition to our annual print anthologies, from students in Portland, Gresham, and beyond. Publication is one many celebratory steps and milestones in a writer’s career, but it’s our honor to offer a platform for wider readership of our students’ stories and voices.

While the origins of the digital chapbooks within Youth Programs favored the publication of several shorter chapbooks each year, we moved to an annual publishing schedule beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

You can read the entirety of our digital chapbook archives here, or take a moment to read The Purple to My Sunrise which published 52 students is our most recent culminating chapbook from the 2018-19 school year and accompaniment to the print anthology, To Break the Stillness, which published 71 students. Special thanks to Olivia Jones-Hall for her role as editor and Youth Programs Coordinator.

Writer Cheyanna Nash (pictured left, c/o Nash) was a senior at Roosevelt High School when she wrote her poem, TIME, which appeared in The Purple to My Sunrise. “This is honestly so cool!,” Nash said when learning her work was published. “I never thought I was good enough to be published. It’s an honor.” She is now a student at Portland Community College, getting ready to start her second year as she pursues an associate degree in Child and Family Services.

Nash’s poem felt especially relevant and important to revisit as our students, and communities at large, are collectively facing uncertainty and disruptions to our paths. Time feels especially present—like it’s stretching and shrinking and shouting all at once. Nash’s work is also a welcomed reminder that it’s okay to change plans and journey into new or unexpected paths.


by Cheyanna Nash

Roosevelt High School
WITS Writer: Christopher Rose | Teacher: Amy Ambrosio

I began to grow impatient with the fact
That time was going too fast and that before I knew it
Junior year began and I thought I had a plan,
Of what my path was going to be
But soon I would realize the career I “wanted “ to pursue
Was not for me

Time after time people would tell me what they wanted me to be
They didn’t take the time to stop and think
Of how their words would affect me
Time is something I thought I had enough of,
I thought I had time to take my time deciding what I was going to do
With my life

These last 3 months flew by and it seems as if I’m no longer Myself
But as if I’m made of dates and numbers of days I have lost
Time is going too fast, I don’t have enough time
I would be in my cap and gown with my graduating class
Now that event is a little less than 31 days away

Time is going too fast,
I don’t have enough time
I don’t have enough time
I don’t have enough time

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