A 6th Grader Publishes Poetry

6th grader Joseph Vadnai shows off the anthology that published his poem.

How did 6th grader Joseph Vadnai (Jo-Jo) end up writing poetry, especially poetry that is good enough to get published? Particularly when he has struggled with reading? He says he was inspired by classical music. "Music is wordless; poetry lets me use my own words, but it's linked to music.," he explains. He has written reams of poems and, after doing that for a while, he wanted to "let people see my poems," so he began looking for outlets. He's been, of course, published in our school newspaper, The Globe, but, encouraged by his English teacher Ms. Levine, he found the American Library of Poetry. "I submitted to their contest because they said they would publish you even if you didn't win." And published he was!

How does he write his poems? "I just let myself think of a subject, and then I find the basic words to describe it and string them together." Jo-Jo plays the piano and lists Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn as his favorite composers. He doesn't read poetry per se, unless he's looking for ideas, but he does read a lot. He read Josephus's The Jewish War in 5th grade after he asked our library to buy it, and he says he learned a lot of words from reading it. Now that is not your standard text for a 5th grader! 

He usually writes poetry about animals and nature, he says, but "The Reading Trouble" beautifully captures his own struggles with learning how to read. "I didn't really read until 2nd grade. Reading over and over again with Mrs. Schiller and Debbie is what helped me in the end. All of a sudden, I could read in a flash." And now he not only reads, he not only writes, he gets published! He is also, mind you, the manager of our basketball team, and helps out in the library as one of our media interns.

The Reading Trouble
by Joseph Vadnai (6th grade)

As I tried to escape from the uproar of sound
I tried to read however letters flit and float before my eye
Though when my mind engulfs the book
Gradually the letters come to a halt.
However as the letters come to a halt what it says comes to life in my head.
In spite of that I love to read.
Though why does this happen?
This happens because I am disleksick.

Published in Treasured, an anthology by the American Library of Poetry


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