Youth Writer Spotlight: Dariana Guerrero

Oct 18th, 2015 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Fall 2015

DarianaGDariana Guerrero is a Lawrence High School graduate and now a sophomore at Smith College, majoring in English and Education.  She’s been an Andover Bread Loaf (ABL) Writing Leader for five consecutive years, and she has presented at the National Council of Teachers of English annual conference. Dariana was inspired to write “Inner City Dreamer” in response to an article claiming her hometown of Lawrence, MA was the “City of the Damned.” Previously published in Women: A Cultural Review, “Inner City Dreamer” was the keynote poem at an ABL student writing conference at the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, where Dariana ran a workshop for elementary school children while she was in high school.

Inner City Dreamer

I am the inner city dreamer.
I am from three bedroom apartments,
and fake linoleum floors.
I am from below minimum wage paychecks.

I am the first high school
graduate girl, who instead of slinging babies on her arm,
cradles books and a thirst
for knowledge.

This thirst for knowledge is
what brings me to college
first in my family
to conceive this cycle.

I am from SAT scores
that unfairly generalize
my intelligence and

I am from classrooms that play Freedom Writers
more than once a year
because they think it’ll start a

I am from teachers
who have told me
I am not
good enough.

I am from teachers, mentors and loved ones
who have inspired me,
validated me,
valued me.

I am from school systems that categorize me as average.

I am from the projects that remind me every day,
how hard I need to work
to create a better life for myself.
To change my circumstance.

I am from days that make me feel
inferior, superior,
talking about my exterior,
trying to change
stereotypes and pre-conceived notions,
extending my emotions on paper.

I am from two different worlds joined by a common goal.

I am from Bread Loaf and
loaves of bread
providing the sustenance and nourishment
needed to write.

I am from ink stained palms,
collaborative pieces
that never seem to get

I am from a backwards mentality of what beauty really is.

I am from promises of body positivity and self-love.

I am from poems that seek to start a revolution.

I am the inner-city dreamer.

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