Teen writer releases poetry collection


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A budding local writer has released a poetry collection, finished the first draft of a novel, and started work on a novella, all before her 17th birthday.

“Once I get started, then it flows pretty easily,” Claira Teichroeb said of her writing process, which has yielded her first book, The Valley of the Poet, a collection of 21 poems published through Amazon.

Teichroeb, a Grade 11 student who lives near Roseau River with her parents and three sisters, said it was thrilling to receive the first shipment of copies.

“I walked like three miles to go to the mail to get it,” she recalled.

Teichroeb’s interest in writing began when she was eight or nine years old. The first works to inspire her were The Littles, a series of children’s novels by American author John Peterson about a miniature family that lives in the walls of human houses.

Her earliest writing gravitated toward fiction. When she turned 15, she began writing poems.

“I wrote a little bit of poetry before that. It wasn’t very good,” she said.

Things really took off when she joined Write the World, a global online forum where teen writers can post original stories, poems, and essays and receive feedback from their peers. Teichroeb found the community inspiring.

“There was a lot of poetry on there, and that’s when I started writing my poetry,” she said.

She posted early versions of all the poems that appear in her book. Sharing her work with an international audience for the first time felt “not scary, but cool,” she said.

Readers said they found her poems moving, and before long she was entering them in online contests. Last year, Write the World’s Poetry and Spoken Word Competition awarded her an honourable mention. (She is eagerly awaiting the results of another contest that will be released this weekend.)

Teichroeb noticed some people on the site had published their work in book form. She turned to Amazon, which offers self-publishing packages for up-and-coming authors.

Nature is a common thread that runs through many of Teichroeb’s poems.

“I have a lot of nature all around me,” she said. “I write some poems that aren’t about nature, but a lot of them are. It’s easier to write about nature, at least for me.”

Ideas sometimes arrive fully formed, like the day when she was sitting at a picnic table surrounded by a canopy of yellow leaves. Another line, about drinking in the stars, came to her while riding in the family minivan.

“Sometimes something will just inspire me,” she said. “A lot of my ideas just pop into my head.”

Teichroeb said other poems come together more gradually through rewrites and edits.

Teichroeb is homeschooled, which allows her the flexibility to incorporate writing projects into her curriculum.

“This year for English, I can write basically whatever I want, so that’s nice,” she said.

She tends to write poetry before bedtime, joking it’s because she procrastinates.

Poetry takes many forms. Teichroeb said she favours the wide-open possibilities of blank verse, as well as poems with an A-B-C-B rhyming pattern. Some of her poems fill two pages while others are just three lines long.

Teichroeb isn’t taking it easy now that her poetry collection is out. This summer, she plans to release a novella.

“It’s about a princess who is going to be forced to marry a wicked prince,” she explained. “This mysterious girl helps take her away and the reader slowly has to figure out who this girl is.”

She has also finished the first draft of a novel.

“I have a thing for starting too many projects and then not finishing all of them,” she said with a laugh. “I’m getting better at it though.”

With high school graduation less than 18 months away, Teichroeb is already considering a career as a writer.

“I might be a poet or an author when I grow up. I’m not quite sure.”

Copies of The Valley of the Poet are available through Amazon.ca or at Artisan Hall inside Reimer Concrete and Building Supplies.

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