TEEN SEQUINS, FEATURING MICHAL LEIBOWITZ, AGE 18

Welcome to day five of Teen Sequins. Today we’re featuring “dear Marcelle,” by Michal Leibowitz.

To read “dear Marcelle” requires a suspension of identity. For the duration of Michal Leibowitz’s poem, the reader functions as the receiver of these letters, as “you,” Marcelle, and the intimacy is startling. In each stanza, there is reference to getting “clean.” Leibowitz writes, “i taught it to collapse outwards,” referencing a building, but also a self. The image evolves from the first letter and stanza to the last, the poem ending with the speaker “waiting/for you,” Marcelle, whenever you’re ready to get clean. Leibowitz’s language gives the poem an agency alongside a potentially more immediate reading, for instance when writing, “you told me you loved a tempest,/so i made one for you, Marcelle,/wasn’t she beautiful?” We, Marcelle, ourselves, are called and compelled to answer. – Robby Auld

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Michal Leibowitz, 18, was born and raised in White Plains, NY. After high school, she spent a year in Israel where she studied, worked, and wrote poetry. Michal’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cleaver Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and the Winter Tangerine Review. Michal will be attending Stanford University in the fall of 2015.

Honorable mentions: Leah Bordlee (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA); Kenzie Bruce (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh, PA); Sarah Chekfa (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY); Jessica Ignasky (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh, PA); Seanan Kenney (Champs Charter High School, Van Nuys, CA); Luis Lizam (Humble High School, Humble, TX); Bre’Ann Newsome (Lehman College, Bronx, NY); Ike Nwoye (Truman College, Chicago, IL); Drew Praskovich (Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh, PA); Olivia Spring (School of the Future High School, NY, NY); Eleanor Stern (Barnard College, NY, NY); Eli Winter (Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston, TX)

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