ChiTeen Lit FestChiTeen Lit Fest

By ChiTeen Lit Fest


By Didi

While attending the NaNoWriMo event that took place at the Rogers Park Branch, I felt the environment was very warm. I took a seat in the back towards the door and worked on my story in peace without any interruptions. This was what made it such a great experience for me. The fact that everyone was so focused on their work, made me want to dive into my story even more. It allowed me to focus and search the web freely for other information that could help me further with ideas for my story. All of these factors made it easier to work on writing my story. I’ve never felt so peaceful in a place like this. The amount of dedication that took place among these writers showed their commitment to their work. That motivated me to want that same focus on the story that I was working on.

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

I remember the light in your eyes…

By Emilie Messavussu

I remember the light in your eyes
As the stars twinkled bright
I never got to say goodbye
So I weeped during those lonely nights

The feel of your warm hand next to mines
We laughed until the day grew black
Everything cleared behind blurred lines
That you had secretly tracked

You were the hunter
While I was the prey
And through those warmly summer
Nights, we danced by the bay

Into the night we go!
As we twirl around the edge of the light
The wind catches a spark of fire and it blows
And it singed and took a bite

We fade into the darkness
That hovered over our weakened shoulders
The starless skies tarnished
By the cry of the smolder

The stone beneath the ground cold
Dead was the light of my soul
Your body withered with the earth’s mold
Free but without parole

And so we danced in the night
With my eyes closed, I dream
In my mind filled with you, I write
The rays of you that beamed

Sorrows seeped in the mid of dawn
Where you withered just like the fire
I fell into the midst, but you were gone
So I was swallowed by your wildfire

I remember the light in your eyes
As the stars twinkled bright
I never got to say goodbye
So I weeped during those lonely nights

And so I closed my eyes
And I let the words of the night
Paint the image you left behind
Boy, didn’t they seem bright

Softly, I whispered goodbye
Into the ears that went death
Hoping for a response as to why
You left and never came back

– Dec 12, 2017 –

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Le coup de foudre

By Aislinn DeButch

Cherry lips, jade eyes, a tiny smirk
Bisou, Bisou on each cheek
Hair like the golden sunrise
Slender legs danced in the night

Bisou, Bisou on each cheek
Roars of Alvis Firebirds’ filled the busy streets
Slender legs danced in the night
Coffee cups clanked

Roars of Alvis Firebirds’ filled the busy streets
The smell of mandarin and ylang ylang on her neck
Coffee cups clanked
Sugary voice just above a whisper

The smell of mandarin and ylang ylang on her neck
Hair like the golden sunrise
Sugary voice just above a whisper
Cherry lips, jade eyes, a tiny smirk.

By ChiTeen Lit Fest


By Sylwia Szopa

It was June
The sun had started to set
Painting the sky in brilliant colors
One stood out most of all
It was the color of the darkening sky
That foretold a storm
The same Iris’s bloomed
That you left at my door
The same color of the angry ocean
You saved me from
It was the paint that smudged your skin
And it was Venus
The world you came from

It was June
When your eyes started to shine
In the light of a hundred stars
And the tears started to fall
The color of which we were

I’m sorry
I’m sorry we were blue

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

A Million Ways to See the World

By Amari Martin

While looking through a window I can see three things:


I can see glass that holds a reflection of me. A reflection of the outside world that is not within my reach. A window with barriers is a thousand televisions playing different shows of the world. Through glass my eyes become radiant. Through the shadow of darkness the world glides. Everyone has emotions, you inhale breathing… breathing. You start to freak out. The wisdom within you can’t be contained anymore. My window, our window is always diverted, shifted, and recreated. We can consume so much information and wrap ourselves into a wind storm.


I see bright flashes of lightning shining like a golden platinum record. I see the sun’s rays bouncing of my skin. I lighten and brighten the darkness around me. My world revolves around me. I feel enchanted. Before I was planted and seated. Never will I show that I can’t be defeated. I can’t be contained. My inner beast is a dragon that will burn down decades, centuries, and generations of love that was never given to me. I always feel abandoned. Never well kept. I can’t sleep, think, or dream anything. I lost sight of everything in front of me. My bridge has fallen, my window has closed. I can see stars looking upon me giving me hope. They’re all together. It always shows that my great grandfather never left me.


No one wants a slow death. I’m always dropping my face into the wind. My thoughts are too well rounded to bend. I was born to write. I am glorious. Storms can’t stop me I’m always victorious. Time is fast pacing. Our lives are ticking down until the very last second. His heart dripped red kool-aid over and over until it’s no more. It turns into a watch that shows 0:00. His heart pounding and pushing blood out of his arteries into the real world — until its last beat.

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Scholarship Resources!

Hey Teens!

We at CTLF know that many of you have goals of going on to college to learn more about and explore your creative and professional passions. We also know that the cost of college is steadily rising so we thought it would be helpful to share some scholarship resources with you that will help lower your cost of attendance. Be sure to take advantage!

CUBS Scholars

Cubs Scholars are selected among students in Chicago area schools to receive full four-year college scholarships. Eligible students must be high school students from Chicago inner-city high schools.

Five students will receive scholarships for four years of college. Eligible students must plan to attend a four-year college or university. In addition to the scholarship, they will be mentored by a Cubs Front Office Associate.  Apply Here

Ron Brown Scholarship

Put completing the Ron Brown Scholarship Application on your calendar!

An extra $10,000 a year will certainly help pay for college.

And finalists of this program get an all expense paid weekend trip to Washington D.C

The deadline is January 9th — you must mail your submission in! You can get more info here.

GE-Reagan Scholarship

Scholarship season is upon us and the 2018 application for current high school seniors for the GE- Reagan Foundation Scholarship is now open.

This scholarship recipients will receive $10,000, renewable for up to 3 additional years.

The deadline for the scholarship application is January 4th, 2018 — but don’t wait until the last minute!

You can find the application online.

Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship

Tis the season to earn money for college!

I’m a senior and I know how stressful college apps and supplements are, that process is only second to the scholarship process.

I discovered the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship program that awards $40,000 PER YEAR for college. That would definitely cover a huge chunk of a college’s sticker price, so I advise that all of you apply.

The deadline for the application for Class of 2018 is due November 14th, so get on it!  Apply Now!

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Writer of the Week: Emily Schultz

Stone Soup

By Emily Schultz

Squirrels burst forth from cedar caverns
Carved cuckoo clock models of
Creatures that were wild once
Now petrified in trimmed trees
Nearly domesticated by the twice-daily patter of peanuts on cement
But still too hungry to sit still.

Heirloom memory of starvation drives impulse
Like clockwork minute hands minute claws
Scrape shallow dips between blades of grass that die from the top down.
The neighbors will toss peanuts all winter
But for squirrels survival
Still feels conditional
Dependent on solid matter – doesn’t matter what
Matter as long as it fills the holes.

So squirrels stuff half-dug hiding spots
With white stones bought in fifty-pound bags
Carried home and dumped out for decoration.
They scrabble against the earth
Until minute claws bury impulse.
Heirloom memory of starvation still sticks
Halfway up from the dirt-
Altar to hungry mothers constructed in preparation for winter feast.

In spring we dig for dandelions
Memories of last summer’s weeds grown too tall in
Our minds, our hands
Wield metal claws
We stab at balls of roots and come up short against stone.
White dust coats fingertips like powdered sugar,
Marking us for our crimes until
The next time we wash our hands.

We throw stones back in buckets while
Squirrels keep watch from cedar caverns, bursting
With pride to welcome thieves come for easy pickings.
We steal imaginary sustenance
Laid before us by squirrels still fat from winter
And dump it back out to be buried again next year.

By ChiTeen Lit Fest


By Sylwia Szopa

My summers were filled with fairytales
Stories of magical lands and beings
Full of adventures.

Every day was filled with the laughter of children
And the barking of dogs
Always running
Always playing.

Building secret bases
In between the trees
Climbing boxes
To reach the top
The queens and kings
Rulers of the fields below.

Growing along the river
Picked by girls of all ages
Crowns that show their power
Represent the dreams they’re chasing.

Surviving on the land below us
And the water from the stream
Never coming home
For we live in the heart of our mother

Never alone
We’re always followed by the dogs that wait at our heel
Dressed in flowers and leaves
Chasing the evil away
Our saviors
Our Friends
Barking at the wind.

As the days come to an end
The ice cream drips down our hands
As we run to the pools
To catch frogs
And to see tadpoles grow.

Who can hold their breath the longest?
Who can catch the most frogs?
Who can swim the fastest?
Who can jump the farthest?
Are the games we are accustomed to playing.

As the sun starts to set
We cherish the golden glow
That fall upon our hair.

We climb the trees
Trying to grab the flickering lights
Dancing before the dark sky
We listen to the music of the night
And we swear we can fly.

We fall asleep on the beds of grass
With flowers in our hair
And the smell of roses in the air
Listening to stories
Of times before us
The life of our ancestors
Raised by the earth.

We were only children dreaming of adventures
And the fairytales we have loved
Of magical lands and creatures
That fill our summer days.

By ChiTeen Lit Fest

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

By Ciera Barnett

Hey Guys!

I know I’m extremely late with publishing this review, but I just wanted to give everyone a chance to see the film before I give my thoughts.

I went to see Hidden Figures on one of its limited edition opening days while I was in Atlanta. Now I am normally not the person to be pressed to see a film in the theater, especially not as soon as it comes out, but the previews had me feeling like it was a must see–I was right.

This movie did so many things and came at the perfect time. It’s definitely become a black movie canon staple.

First, let’s discuss casting. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. When I first got word, I was a bit surprised. I knew Octavia Spencer was a great actress, so I had no doubts about her being able to fulfill the role. However, I did have doubts about Janelle and Taraji playing the role.

I know Janelle as a singer, not as an actress, and because this was going to be such a significant movie, I was worried about letting someone who had never done a major film before this on, but she delivered.

And then Taraji– of course she’s a great actress with a lot of experience. I am in no way trying to undermine her skills, but my skepticism for her playing this role stemmed from the fact that most of her roles are of a sassy and play-no-games women. Also, Taraji had never really played a historical role, she was always able to grow into and create the character that was written, rather than become and embody the live of a real person. But she surprised me.

The way the movie was written characterized all three women perfectly. The movie came out around the same time that the woman who Taraji played, Katherine Johnson, was being honored for her work, so I was afraid that the movie would revolve around her, but to my pleasant surprise, it didn’t. All three women were leading ladies and had their own story line.

Janelle’s character, Mary Jackson, struggled against legal and social adversity to earn the proper credentials to become an engineer. One of the lines that stuck out the most to me was “It’s like every time we get close to achieving something, they move the finish line.” Regardless of what it took – taking night classes, integrating a school, going to court – she achieved her goal of becoming a NASA engineer. One important aspect that really stuck out to me was the fact that her girlfriends supported her the entire time, which is something many women need to get back to today.

Octavia Spencer’s character, Dorothy Vaughn, was the epitome of My Sister’s Keeper. Once realizing that she was fulfilling the role of a supervisor, but not getting the appropriate pay, she wanted to fight that. But upon finding out that not only her job, but the jobs of all the women in her department were going to be removed within a month, she put her personal goals aside and went as far as stealing books to make sure that her team was prepared to work with the new technology. Little did the higher-ups at NASA know, Vaughn’s team would be the group that made the new technology work smoothly. She risked her own job to look out for the women she was in charge of, if that’s not sisterhood, I don’t know what is.

And then we have Taraji. The actress I have come to know and love as Cookie Lyon and all her other sassy roles. I honestly feel that her playing this role will start a chain reaction of Taraji getting all sorts of roles because she has proved herself able to play characters outside of her traditional casting. I feel like more black actresses need an opportunity, similar to what Taraji had with Hidden Figures, to show their versatility. While I love seeing Taraji go off on everyone, and Gabrielle Union does a great job at playing the single looking for love, it’s getting old quickly. Taraji, whose known to be outspoken, became a different person when playing Katherine Johnson, a timid woman from the 1960s. This role showed Taraji’s true skill, that Howard training served her well.

Overall, this was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen and I’d certainly watch it again. A perfect balance between social justice and fun. The casting was perfect and so was the script. The movie answered every question you could have and was detailed enough for a real space enthusiast to be entertained, but simple enough for the general public to enjoy and understand. This movie really got me thinking, even down the title, Hidden Figures couldn’t have been better.

I know I’ve said a lot, but this movie has so much substance that you have to watch it still to understand everything. Each little element was perfect.

1 2 3
I remember the light in your eyes…
Le coup de foudre
A Million Ways to See the World
Scholarship Resources!
Writer of the Week: Emily Schultz
Movie Review: Hidden Figures