People & Places

Young Writers Project: Cancer

Sophia Cannizzaro is a homeschooled eighth-grader.Courtesy photo
Sophia Cannizzaro is a home-schooled eighth-grader. Courtesy photo

YWP only green-webEditor’s note: Young Writers Project, a Vermont nonprofit dedicated to helping students write well, will be sharing several exceptional pieces of best student work each week at for special display over the weekend. We hope you appreciate the young writers’ viewpoints, imagination and experiences. Please let us know what you think.

Click below to hear Sophia read her work. [soundcloud]


Sophia Cannizzaro
a home-schooled eighth-grader from West Glover

Everything in my brain
Connects to you
Everything I say
Reminds me of you
Everything I write
Is about you
Everything I do
Is for you

At first
You were a small part of me
But now
Now, your words have replaced mine
Your feelings have replaced mine
Your spirit has replaced mine
I am a caged bird
With no wings
To struggle with

I’m all mixed up with you
Twisted and tangled
Bent and broken
Wired to you
Like a bonzai tree
Grafted to you
Like an apple tree
I’m not sure I can get myself
Away from you
Without destroying something

I don’t know if I should treat this
Or let it run its course
I could lessen the symptoms
But it wouldn’t fix
The problem underneath

If that’s even what it is
Is loving you a problem?
Are you bad for me?
Am I going to dissolve into you?

Are you terminal?

About YWP

YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in 19 newspapers across Vermont and in parts of New Hampshire and on Vermont Public Radio. It runs an online teen writing community,, which has only one rule: be respectful. It works with teachers in 63 schools who use YWP’s unique, free digital classroom platform and provides many with ongoing professional development mentoring and other teacher training. And it is developing NxN, a writing center at its Burlington headquarters. For more, go to or

If you are a youth or you know a youth who is passionate about something and works hard at it, be it building models or flying or playing the drums or climbing cliffs, please contact Geoffrey Gevalt at [email protected] and tell him something about the youth and how to get in touch with her or him.

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Recent Stories

  • Important representation, thank you and her.

  • Scott R. Williams

    This poem touched me deepy. Beautiful, thank you for creating it and making it available.

  • Thank you for putting it right out there. Moving. Make me angry too.

  • Sophia Cannizzaro

    Oh my goodness, thank you so much for posting this! SO honored!
    And thank you guys for the kind comments, I’m SO glad you enjoyed it!

  • I enjoyed reading this beautiful love poem to my husband of 12 years.

    • Sophia Cannizzaro

      Aww, Ann, that’s so sweet! I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Anne Carroll

    Such quiet strength in your words, Sophia. How wonderful you have this opportunity to share.

    • Sophia Cannizzaro

      Thank you!
      And yes, I love YWP so much…it’s the one place where I’m sure people hear me when I talk. Having an audience to write for has done wonders for my motivation!