A poem purportedly written by a 9-year-old girl as part of a school assignment has stunned social media with its heady mix of horror and surrealist humor.
The child’s powerful work first came to light after being shared to Reddit by a user posting as lizzah2211 who claimed the girl’s parents “were called in to talk about it” in school “because it upset everyone.”
But while the girl’s gory descriptions and intense subject matter may not have been entirely to the liking of her teachers and classmates, many online have been full of praise for her work.
According to Mitch Resnick, professor of learning research at the MIT Media Lab, it’s crucial for educators and parents alike to support children to develop their “creative capacities” by embracing “all types of making”—including creative writing.
“Different children are interested in different types of making,” he explained in an article for Ideas.Ted.com.
“Some enjoy making houses and castles with LEGO bricks. Some enjoy making games and animations with Scratch. Others enjoy making jewelry or soapbox race cars or desserts—or miniature golf courses. Writing a poem or a short story is a type of making, too.”
Resnick posits that each of these activities offers an opportunity for children to “learn about the creative design process” and the key step is to “help children find the type of making that resonates for them.”
For the 9-year-old girl whose work was featured in the viral post, it’s clear that writing offers her a unique outlet to express her thoughts and feelings.
Titled “CAR CRASH” the poem reads as follows:
ITS MATTS BIRTHDAY
HAYLEY MATT AND JEM
SWOOSH SPEEDING DOWN THE HIGHWAY JEM
AT THE WHEEL SLIDING SIDE TO SIDE
SWERVED TO MISS THE STUPID PENGUIN
CAR FLIPS ON TO SIDE
SILENCE FOR A SECOND
HAULING MATT AS HIS LEG SNAPS ON WINDOW
BLOOD SPITTING EVERYWHERE
JEM AND HAYLEY FLY THROUGH THE AIR
JEM HANGS FROM POWERLINE
HAYLEY’S LEG STUCK UP A TREE
SNEAKY SNAKE BITES DANGLING FOOT
THEY WAKE TO STRANGE SOUNDS
OF PEOPLE YELLING IN PAIN
Powerfully visceral yet retaining a streak of offbeat humor, according to lizzah2211, the young girl’s parents thought the poem was “fantastic and really funny,” while her teacher’s only real concern over the piece was that she was “worried that it might have been based on a real event.”
Thankfully it was not, with the original poster revealing that the young girl has been told “it’s amazing” and gets “heaps of encouragement from everyone.”
“We all demanded a copy of it for our fridges,” they added.
That praise has now spread to the world of social media, with the post showcasing her work racking up over 66,000 upvotes on Reddit alongside thousands of appreciative comments.
Nebulanic rated it “10/10” adding “it’s good,” while Skoltroll said: “That poem did more for seat belt usage than any PSA attempt in the last 40 years.”
Occams_, meanwhile, commented: “That’s pretty impressive for a nine-year-old. Hope the kid keeps writing,” with ShaneBlaster agreeing: “This poem definitely paints a picture.”
The strongest praise came from a user posting as Puddinhead420, who said: “It’s very impressive. Evocative imagery, great vocabulary and I love the contrast of the gore and horror against the humor of the stupid penguin. This is art that gets a reaction.”
NoMansLemon concurred, writing: “The whole point of the arts is to make people feel, and it sounds like this was a success!”
Newsweek has contacted lizzah2211 for comment.