Local teen poet reads her feelings in downtown Visalia

As downtown Visalia’s First Friday Art Walk returns to showcase local artwork, 15-year-old Donya Hassanshahi is being featured as a keynote speaker for her first publication.

Starting at 6 p.m. at The Book Nook, located at 114 W Main Street Suite 102, Hassanshahi will be presenting and reading select pieces from her anthology The Fairy Without Wings. The book, published in January, is a collection of poems centering on Hassanshahi’s journey through her adolescent years, which she experienced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really try to evoke the feeling that in growing up, there’s obstacles,” Hassanshahi said. “And in order to overcome those obstacles, you need to feel, you need to take the time to get to know yourself better and you need to take the time to reflect.”
The origin of Hassanshahi’s book started when she was 13-years-old, amidst the beginnings of the pandemic’s economic and societal shutdown. Left with spare time on her hands and a need to pursue an artistic outlet, she decided she would follow up on a childhood dream to write a book that started in second grade. She said the roots of her interest in poetry sparked in third grade, but she didn’t pursue the art form until semi-recently.
“I didn’t really become interested in it until eighth grade, which was during COVID, so in September of 2020,” Hassanshahi said. “That’s really when I started writing, but I didn’t know I wanted to publish a book until late 2021.”

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