Erika Newcomb, 15, Everett High School

Rhyme and reason: Erika recently had her poem, "Charmed," published in "A Celebration of Young Poets, Northwest: Fall 2003." The book is the result of an Internet contest where writers submitted their work for possible publication.

Stumbled into print: "I was just kind of being bored one day, looking around on the Internet and found a contest and entered my poem," Erika said. "A few weeks later, they sent me a letter saying they were going to publish my poem in their book."

An old flame: The poem is about D.J., an old boyfriend. "It’s kind of sad, but it’s not, like, depressing sad," she said. "The poem is about him not liking me and me liking him. Until I got over him, I didn’t really want anyone to read it."

"So strong my feelings, making my heart ache; much more of this I know I can’t take," the poem begins.

Finding another voice: In addition to writing poetry, Erika enjoys singing in the women’s choir at Everett High School. She likes jazz music, and her current favorite is the soundtrack from the 2002 movie "Chicago."

Not an "Idol" fan: Erika stopped watching "American Idol" after the first season, but her mom still watches and gives her weekly updates.

"I think that a lot of (the singers) are really good, but it’s really funny to laugh at the people who aren’t — the ones who are really blind to how bad they are," she said. "But then I feel bad because that might be me and I just don’t know it."

Another use for her pen: If not a professional singer or poet, Erika wants to be a fashion designer. "I don’t really have a favorite designer, but I really like bright-colored clothes," she said. "I usually wear just normal colors because I don’t have any bright ones." She is thinking about going to the Art Institute of Seattle after high school graduation.

A floral surprise: In eighth grade, she signed up for a floral design class, not really knowing what it was. Now it’s one of her favorite classes. "I couldn’t really find anything else that sounded interesting," she said. "It’s not all just paperwork. We actually get to work with flowers and that kind of stuff."

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