It isn’t unusual to graduate high school with aspirations of a career in writing. Less common, though, is already being a published author when you cross the stage.
Senior Sally Young, who is the Class of 2022 salutatorian, this year published a collection of poems, “Light Through the Blinds.”
Young began the book early in her high school career. It is, the cover notes, “an amalgamation of what it’s like to be a teenager—poems that represent every adolescent emotion in the modern day.”
“I started writing poetry when lockdown for Covid first started, and I needed to fill my time and express my frustration with the situation,” explained Sally. “Being isolated was hard, and since I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, I wrote about it.”
Sally credits her AP English teacher, George Goga, with encouraging her to publish. “Mr. Goga knew that I was writing poetry during my junior year, and suggested the idea of pulling them into a collection, which was really exciting,” she said.
“The writing in ‘Light Through the Blinds’ reveals wit, voice, and personality unlike any other,” says publisher George Goga. Goga is the owner of Dapper Sloth Press. “This collection speaks in parallel to a number of issues at hand, including love and loss, presence and absence, beauty, truth, and power. And most importantly, to the therapeutic, redemptive, and deeply formative power of language to shape thought, and reality.”
“I think if we were to psychoanalyze every teenage girl, the result would be both extremely fascinating and extremely depressing,” writes Young at the opening of the collection. “We are each unique, and uniquely beautiful. With that, though, comes the unique weight of every societal pressure.”
“Light Through the Blinds” is divided into three parts: “The Dawn,” “The Dusk,” and the “The Day.” Each part contains nine works, all poems, with the exception of “Arsonist,” an essay at the end of the second part.
The structure was not so much premeditated as realized after the fact, Sally says. “When reading through the poems I’d written for the collection, I realized they all fit into three categories: naïveté and youth (the dawn), joy and appreciation for life (the day), and a dark despair for the hard parts of life (the dusk),” she said.
Sally will attend Dartmouth College in the fall, where she plans to study English. “Light Through the Blinds” is available for free online.
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Photo: Sally book signing print-1: Geneva High School senior Sally Young, seated, held a book signing for classmates and teachers at the school in June.