These poems were all produced during a Writers in the Community (WIC) workshop led by Greg Santos. They were originally published in WIC zines, all of which can be found here. Established in 2003, Writers in the Community is a collaborative project overseen by two non-profit organizations: the Quebec Writers’ Federation and The Centre for Literacy of Quebec.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Limo Driver
by Anthony

Everybody get to the limo!
Do it now! We must get to the party!
Stop whining! Just get in! Now!
I hate my job! It’s so stupid!
I have to listen to little kids complain about the music isn’t loud enough!
What do you mean I am going the wrong way?
Shut up! Just sit down! Let me do my job!
UGHHH! I have a really big tumour in my head.
UGHHH! Well… I guess I can’t complain.
I make good money and it puts food on the table.
But I still hate this stupid job!


I Am From
by Korina

I am from never liking to sleep in that awfully scary crib.
I am from sleeping on my grandma’s apartment floor with my millions of stuffed animals.
I am from taking apart our living room to build a house out of the cushions from the couch, never wanting to put it back.
I am from being pushed down the stairs at the age of four by my demented sister who didn’t care.
I am from taking train rides and eating cinnamon buns with my grandfather.
I am from extreme pillow fights with my sister to laughing so hard when I fell off the bed.
I am from trying to climb the monkey bars to succeed only to make a face plant in the sand.
I am from getting my first haircut to crying because it was too short.
I am from stealing candy off the Christmas tree while my sister stuffs it in her mouth.
I am from sleepless nights after reading under my tent of pillows and blankets.
I am from painting my first portrait on the floor to have my mother want me to wash it off.
I am from dressing up Barbies to losing their little shoes and accessories to the horrible, evil, hungry, vacuum cleaner.
I am from watching Johnny Test on my godparents’ TV while eating mango ice cream.
I am from kicking my first goal in soccer to twisting my left ankle.
I am from painting Easter eggs with my mother after a competitive chocolate egg hunt with my cousins.
I am from popping popcorn for a Sunday night movie.
I am from cold winter afternoons after building snow forts, to coming inside to play Monopoly.
I am from strumming my first guitar to seeing my first shooting star.
I am from sneaking into my sister’s room to draw a moustache on her face with a permanent marker.
I am from waking up Saturday mornings to the smell of freshly made pancakes.
I am from being taught to read music notes to writing my own.
I am from going to my first concert to wanting to kill myself from waiting in line.
I am from taking my first picture with the camera my parents got me, knowing I wanted to become a photographer when I grow up.
I am from falling to crying, to laughing and jumping.
I am from being loud and funny to shy and quiet.
I am from fighting with my sister to her becoming my best friend.
I am from daydreaming of the future to wishing of being in the past, not wanting to be in the present.
I am from expressing my thoughts in the painting I paint on a dark stormy night.


THESE POEMS reflect the fun and insightful type of writing that came from my two spirited 9th grade workshop classes at Vanguard Intercultural High School.

Anthony’s hilarious poem is from the point of view of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a new career as a limo driver. It came from a writing exercise where the students chose a celebrity or well-known figure and placed them in an unusual or everyday job. The results were pretty inspired and incredibly fun to read out loud.

The epic “I Am From” poem by Korina offers the reader an autobiographical window into a young poet’s childhood, complete with sibling shenanigans and everyday yet touching moments.

My goal as their “poetry coach” was not to tell the students how to write poetry, but rather to get them to creatively share their keen observations, interests, and hopes on the page. It was important for me to show them that their lives were rich with poetic fodder that they could plunder to create written art that was relatable, alive, and contemporary. Not only did they do that, but they completely surpassed my expectations with their enthusiasm. I would often find giddy students huddled together and hear exclamations like “Dude, check out my poem!” and “Your poem is awesome!” Music to a poetry teacher’s ears!
by Greg Santos