A POETRY Contest HOSTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
CHANNEL KINDNESS & Born This Way Foundation
Grandmother’s hands, cups of tea, smiling strangers… four Girls Write Now mentees share poetry about the ways they give and receive kindness, selected by a panel of Channel Kindness judges.
pretty and warm and good
By Sanya Afsar
From the CHANNEL KINDNESS judge’s panel:
It isn’t every day that you read a poem that touches you so deeply that you can’t wait to read it again. This is exactly the case with “pretty and warm and good.” With so much honest language and well thought out stanzas, this poem invites readers into the feeling of what kindness can be and the power it can hold, especially when we are kind to ourselves.
kindness is a dubious thing a compliment or a word of encouragement more suspicious than any insult or blackmail i don’t know how to receive kindness i’m distrusting of its equivocal intentions a slander disguised as a friendly word a betrayal disguised as a helping hand a backbite disguised as a worried chat i’m used to doing things alone to living in a dismissive world so when someone tells me they think i’m pretty they think i’m warm they think i’m good i just don’t understand because i didn’t grow up with it and i didn’t give it to myself i didn’t allow myself the gift of care or understanding or affection i don’t think i’m pretty or warm or good i don’t feel comfort in my own self so when someone else does my walls stare at each other in confusion, in uncertainty of how to treat this unknown stranger named kindness but it's beautiful it’s wonderful
it is an art a form of love between even strangers telling you your bag is unzipped on the train or opening the door for you on their way out it’s an act formed purely out of goodwill a human helping a human for no reason unfavorable for if there were some hidden ill-intent then it wouldn’t really be kindness after all so i’ll let you call me pretty and i’ll let you call me warm i’ll let you call me good and i’ll let you build me up because when those who surround you give you that gift of kindness then you, too, start to think that you’re pretty and you’re warm and you’re good and nothing can be kinder than that
A Poetry Contest & Story Collection
When you think about kindness, what sights and sounds come to mind? How do you encapsulate such grand feelings of compassion? Girls Write Now mentees and alumni rose to the challenge in the Art of Kindness Poetry Contest, hosted in partnership with Channel Kindness and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
Sanya Afsar is a Pakistani high school senior in NYC. She grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, until the age of seven and now lives in the culturally rich Woodside neighborhood of Queens, NY. She is a multidisciplinary artist interested in fashion, photography and baking. Her literary taste skews toward dystopian fiction, romance and poetry novels. Sanya uses her time with Girls Write Now to explore different genres, narrowing her focus on college and career plans, to find her voice as a writer. She is particularly passionate about poetry, journaling and memoir.