• If You Were Thomas’s White Girlfriend

    photo by Kate Philbrick

    “When Studs Terkel was asked on Transom what he wanted to hear on the radio, he answered, “Something real.”   Jay Allison in his intro to this story on Transom.org, “If You Were Thomas’s White Girlfriend.”

    By Terry Farish

    Thomas got a job shelving books at a branch of the Portland Public Library, a pretty good job considering that he hadn’t been in the country all that long.


  • “Measuring the World”


    The young adult review journal, YARN, celebrated World Poetry Day with a very interesting poet’s premise.   YARN invited  poets to write a poem using text from a common source.  And more …..the poem must include three phrases from the common source.  The theme was “Measuring the World: the Geography of Poetry.”  This was a fascinating prompt for a poet. Here’s the full call for submissions if you want to experiment with your own poem.  I am very lucky to have I poem I submitted on the site. I wrote the “Wherever You Are”  with ideas from my good friend from South Sudan.

  • Aruna Kenyi – a writer of grace and hard work

    I hear about Aruna Kenyi before I meet him.
    I’m at the Telling Room in Portland, Maine,  a large upstairs room on Commercial Street facing the busy waterfront, where teenagers come to write with the support of professional writers. Patty Hagge is one teacher, a striking woman with pure white hair. She tells me about two writers who came to Portland and changed Kenyi’s life:  Valentino Achak Deng and Dave Eggers. They spoke to young writers there and read from What is the What, Eggers’ book based on Valentino’s memories of Sudan. Here is the audio of their talk. “From the time Kenyi met them,” Patty tells me, “he said he wanted to write his story and we said, we will help you.”


  • Children of War

    “In what language is this holy? ” Naomi Shihab Nye writes in her poem “All Things Not Considered.”  Children of War is my reading essay featured in School Library Journal  about novels, poems, and memoir for young people on war, including Nye’s 19 Varieties of Gazelle.