Like thousands of other local students, Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem has had the benefit of working with a professional writer in the classroom through Writers in the Schools, a program from Seattle Arts and Lectures.
But for Barzallo Sockemtickem, now 17, that "classroom" happened to be her room at Seattle Children's Hospital. She has spent many months at Children's, being treated for cancer and working with WITS poet Sierra Nelson.
Barzallo Sockemtickem's poem "Where I'm From" is defiant and tender, and challenges her listener to understand that she won't let her disease define her: "I am from stubbornness / and spitfire. / I am from refuse to give up. / I am not just cancerous."
Her poem was awarded the "Origins" prize from Seattle Arts and Lectures.
Barzallo Sockemtickem was recorded in the KUOW Studios on August 2.