These poems were all produced during a Writers in the Community (WIC) workshop led by Dale Matthews. 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.

I Wonder
by Kate Borg

how many drinks did she have tonight?
Did she even come home?
Did she pass out in her puke again?
Did she hit me again while drunk?
Did she yell so hard the cops were called again?
I wonder if one day she will die from
drinking too much?
I wonder if she ever got raped cause
she was always drunk in clubs?
I wonder why she started to drink?
I wonder if she would of stayed sober
if she never had me?
I wonder, I wonder, I wonder?


True Pain
by Nelica A.T. Scott

Curse you, I hope you Burn in Hell, You two
Having always to look & watch my back
It all started.
My innocence, my beauty,
I guess that’s why they couldn’t stay away from me.
I trusted you. But you betrayed me.
I cant sleep
Can’t eat
Felt like I could not Breathe.
Paralyzed for eternity.
Pulling me down Ripping me apart
Tearing me open
Scratching my insides
Die, Die, Just Die
That Man
You came so sweet, a Father to me,
My Real Dad & I not so close.
At first was happy.
Then you showed your true colours.
He would wait till she left.
Told me to hush, just be a good girl that I am.
Don’ move he said
And I listen
Fearful not for mine but my mother’s life
I obeyed and it was the same two all over again
6-15 was the hardest years of my life, But I’m strong now.


ALCHEMY is what comes to mind when I think of the writing of the young women at Elizabeth House. In their hard work they turn lead into steel or silver or gold, substances that shine, reflecting upon their origins. These young poets also find veins of gold hidden in their histories and mine them for all they’re worth.

I want to express gratitude to the QWF Writers in the Community program for making this work possible and to the devoted staff at Elizabeth House. I would also like to thank Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), the poet who began teaching the writing of poetry to young children in the public schools of New York City in the late 1960’s, for his books Wishes, Lies, and Dreams (1970) and Rose, Where Did You Get that Red? (1973). These books continue to give generations of writers inspiration, techniques and exercises to get writers of all ages excited and on their way.
by Dale Matthews