Young Poet Has A Way With Words

Return to Table of Contents

By Nancy Rineman

Hampton Union, Friday, February 2, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Frank Duran, an eighth-grader at Hampton Academy, will have one of his poems published in the hardcover anthology "A Celebration of Young Poets" this fall.
[Photo by Nancy Rineman]

HAMPTON -- Frank Duran, an eighth-grader at Hampton Academy, is experiencing a writer's dream these days, after finding out one of his poems will be published in the hardcover anthology "A Celebration of Young Poets," in the fall of 2007.

Hampton Academy language arts teacher Lori Cotter received a letter last week from the editor of Creative Communication Inc., announcing that Frank's poem, "Why Are You Afraid of the Dark?" had been selected for publication. The letter went on to praise Frank's work for being chosen from thousands of entries in the contest.

"I read the letter out loud in class," Cotter said.

That was the first that Frank knew of his poem's success, and he got to experience that moment surrounded by his classmates.

"I kept saying, "Oh my God, oh my God," was what Frank remembers about his initial reaction to the news.

The poem was written in the summer of 2006, when Frank was in Florida visiting his grandparents.

"I was laying in bed one night and I thought, why are people afraid of the dark?"

Professing that he himself was not afraid of the dark, Frank said he just put the feeling into words. He said it typically takes just minutes for him to write a poem.

To date, Frank has written more than 200 poems and five songs. About to be published, he said, "Now I am a poet!"

Cotter said she always knew this day would come.

"I think the day that I met him he presented me with a poem," she said. "I said, 'He's going to be a writer.'"

Cotter said the school had been sent two copies of "Celebrate! Young Poets Speak Out" from the University of New Hampshire. When she noticed an insert in the book advocating motivating students by having them published in this same anthology, she pointed it out to Frank.

That was the beginning of what has turned into an exciting, successful journey, due in no small part to an inspirational teacher, Lori Cotter.

Frank said he went through a period of several years when he felt he struggled with writing.

"Now I can write like anything," he said.

And as far as other areas of study go, "Everything's gone up!" the beaming 14-year-old noted.

"I love to read," Frank said. "I get inspired by everything around me -- friends, music, books."

Frank is also on the school newspaper staff and likes public speaking, sports such as baseball and flag football, photography and movie making. His brother, Jack, a seventh-grader at Hampton Academy, helps with the videos, Frank said.

"Poetry is life experience," the eighth-grader explained. "I'm 14 years old. When I'm older I want to (be) published in a book."

The title of that book, according to Frank, will be, "Love, Fun, Life, Family, Friends, and Times of a Messed-up Kid."

Frank explained that when a writer, or poet, writes about happy things, it's "really, really happy."

"But when it's sad, it's extremely sad -- you're into the feeling."

These feelings will be among the close to 1,000 poems of students from the Northeast that will appear in the "Celebrate! Young Students Speak Out Fall 2007" Anthology which, it is hoped, will be part of many school libraries across the Northeast:

Why are you afraid of the dark?
Is it the creak in the floor board?
The sweater that looks like a monster?
Or the things in the shadows?
Why are you afraid of the dark?
Is it the big willow tree in the yard?
The "whoosh" of the wind?
Or the things that go bump in the night?
Why are you afraid of the dark?
Is it the thunder outside?
Your dad snoring?
Or the walls closing in to swallow you?
Why are you afraid of the dark?
-- Frank Duran

Return to Table of Contents