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.
By Grace Yu
From the CHANNEL KINDNESS judge’s panel:
This perfectly encapsulates kindness from beginning to end, does a beautiful job setting the scene and telling the story, and has great rhythm and resolution. Wonderful job!
You do not expect the kindness. It comes in splashes, like an outpour after a long drought. It was Tuesday, and raining. It often was. That night, the sidewalks were leaping — Manhattan’s scrubbed grass, dry and parched, had found space to breathe quietly in the wet dirt. That night, I inhaled the dampness, the scent of petrichor, the mud seeping into my thin shoes and the rain dripping through my soaked hood. I shivered slowly under the dark, passing through the windows of department stores, lightheaded, wandering through an array of bread, a stack of thick winter coats. That night, I remembered hunger. I found myself pushing open the narrow door — drifting in, the buttery pretzels piled high on the counter. I had only six dollars. The cashier sat impassive, watching me count out the faded dollar bills, sink my hands into my pockets, feeling for my last quarter. The smallest pretzels, dipped in a shower of salt, were almost seven dollars. Later, I headed to the corner of the library, stuffed warm, full of warm thoughts. The cashier, eyes down, pushing the food over the counter. This is enough. Someone brought in change earlier. And in my pockets, a handful of bright coins, clinking gently together.
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.
Grace Yu is a first year student at Northwestern University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing music and making origami. She has been published in Taking Our Place in History: The Girls Write Now 2020 Anthology, as well as her high school’s art and literature magazines. In the Emerging Poets category for the 2022 ruth weiss Foundation Awards, Grace was selected as a finalist for her poem “Love Story," an homage to the stunning diversity of oceanic life.