artists. Moab is home to many local artists and nationally
known artists. These talented people work in a range of mediums
from visual arts through literary to musical. Each month Moab
Happenings features one of our talented local Moab artists.
Artist of the Month - March 2004
Moab Child-Poet Published
in National Journal
by Carrie Switzer
poems by Chloe Verchick
February, then eight-year-old Chloe Verchick shocked and
amazed a full house at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center’s
5th anniversary celebration and Variety Show with original
poetry written and delivered with a style becoming a rising
performance poet three times her age. Since then Chloe’s
writing has become more seasoned, encouraged by adult
writers and mentors in the community. She herself acknowledges
this still very personal, albeit publishable, gift.
“It just comes to me, really fast,” Chloe
says with animated body language. “I have to grab
something quick and write it down. I love to write.”
With eyes closed Chloe’s vocabulary betrays her
“… And your only determination goes stale.”
Her ability to verbalize depth of feeling would amaze
caretakers of the average third grader.
“… Mind blurry, heart confused,
Can’t think. … ‘Am I dead?’ you
think? It was a dream.”
Chloe’s art is language, and like many artists,
she said she uses it most “when I get mad or just
when I feel like it.” She’s always been an
above average reader, and remembers writing when she was
seven years old. Now, at nine, she anticipates being published
in a National anthology, and has been invited to receive
an award at the annual poetry conference held in Orlando,
Florida this spring. Her poem, “As I Can Only Remember,”
was one of 1,800 entries; hers is one of 50 that will
be recorded on a compact disc to be released later this
Chloe said her love of reading, for enjoyment sake, began
like many second graders’ with The Boxcar Children
series. She remembers reading "Wrinkle in Time",
and in second grade tested at a fifth grade reading level.
While reading comprehension may explain Chloe’s
propensity for language, the rules of grammar take a backseat
to an unwritten intuition Chloe has for expressing ideas,
emotions and stories through poetry. She said most of
her poems tell a story, and “As I Can Only Remember”
is one of her favorites.
I Can Only Remember
A forgotten wind blows,
Through my body drained.
I can only remember
The soldier, Arabian wizard,
And imaginary friends.
Bad light shining
Through a cracked window.
I believe it was just a big book
My mother read to me,
Or a fairy tale,
As I swing through the trees
Of knowing this dream
A fain memory of friends,
A spirit maybe.
The letters and digits
Run through my mind.
As I can only remember
It was a dream.
has lived in Moab all of her life, and loves skating, basketball,
soccer and gymnastics. She has a keen interest in science,
and wants to be a marine biologist. Chloe said she sees
her writing as a tool for self-expression, self-understanding
and a way to get through growing up. She likes to play with
words on the computer, experimenting with color and form.
She likes to take her rough drafts and rewrite them with
Chinese ink, and then type them. She talks of writing as
a craft, but not one that she plans to do for a living.
“I have little books I keep my poems in, but when
I’m writing it comes so surprisingly, I feel so good,
it’s like, ‘Oh, I want to write!’ I have
to rewrite them into the books later,” she said.
Founder of Moab Poets and Writers Julie Fox invited Chloe
to present her work at a monthly reading, which she has
done a couple of times. Julie bought her a journal and a
pen to encourage her. The staff at Moab Academy, where Chloe
now goes to school, also offers opportunities for Chloe
to write and submit her work for publication.
Chloe’s mother Tracy, a local watercolor artist, submitted
“As I Can Only Remember” without revealing her
daughter’s age, so she was competing with adults,
as far as she knows. If Chloe doesn’t make it to Orlando
for the awards ceremony, her poem will be read aloud by
a conference member. Ironically, one of Tracy’s art
pieces was accepted in a show at Louisiana State University
during the same month as Chloe’s conference. For both
of them, their art could lead them on a mother-daughter
road trip to the south.
“Chloe took the initiative and did her own thing with
that first reading at the MARC,” Tracy said. “I’m
super-excited. I have artist friends throughout the community
who have a high regard for Chloe’s writing. The hard
thing for her is that it is still so personal, and it’s
hard to share it widely.”
At nine years old, who knows what role writing will play
in Chloe’s life, though there is no doubt the recognition
she has already received will be formative in some way.
For now, Chloe shares a few of her poems with her community,
and one with the nation. And she has won a few prizes along
Knowledge is life,
If knowledge leaves you
Standing in mid-air,
You can’t move.
Just think, if it left.
You, in yourself, will be still,
If knowledge left
The world will be an
Thoughts in mid-air, life left.
Everything can’t think.
The winds stops blowing, the planets stop,
The asteroids float in mid-air.
One thing moves.
Its great power warms us.
We are more alive, more than ever.
It is inspirations, love, hate,
It is energy.
Mind blurry, heart confused,
Can’t think. Someone, somewhere,
Controlling you. Then you freeze.
“Am I dead?” you think,
You wake up. It was a dream.
Know love, hate
The fire is rising from
The top of the spirit.
Your body is relaxing
And your only determination goes stale.
Did I faint?
Did I die?
Your body lifts off the ground.
You fall endless.
What is life?
Can you stop it?
If you could, then think,
How would it be?
Time will be stale
And love, and hate, can
Take place in life.
Six years, two days,
Time is still
And no one can resume it.
Leaves hover in air
And moving too fast to think.
Hope is fatal. No sound.
If life stopped.
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