The boy's poem appears online, in a school newsletter and will be part of a book due out this summer.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- When Eugene Mach gets upset, he takes it out on paper.
The 13-year-old boy turned his dismay over the Sept. 11 tragedy into a poem that won him a slot as a semifinalist in an international contest.
"When I'm upset, I just write down how I feel," he said.
The poem, titled "Our Country America," has been reproduced in a newsletter at his school, Turner Junior High, and will be featured in a book called "Letters From the Soul."
Web site: To view Eugene's Sept. 11 tribute or another poem titled "Please Look a Little Deeper," go to www.poetry.com and key in his name.
The site, sponsored by the International Library of Poetry, offers contests and opportunities to post poems.
Eugene says the final competition will be in April, awarding prizes of $1,000 and $10,000.
Because Eugene is a semifinalist, his poem will be published in the book that is a collection of poetry sponsored by the International Library of Poetry, due out this summer.
Violet and Gene Allison, the boy's parents, said they found out about the contest online and encouraged him to enter.
Eugene said his mother, father and sister, Margie While, will travel with him to Washington, D.C., in August for the International Poetry Convention and Symposium.
In school: Lynda Laurich, a teacher at Turner, said she had her classes watch the news coverage of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
A few days later, Eugene brought the poem to Laurich, who says he's a sensitive boy who was clearly upset by what he saw.
"I can tell he's got a lot in his heart," she said. "There's a lot of compassion in him."
The Freeman Street boy calls terrorists stupid and said he was upset to hear of all the innocent people who died.
His comments: "The terrorists thought they'd break us apart, but all they did was bring us closer together," he said.
He added that he feels differently about the "Pledge of Allegiance" since Sept. 11.
"It makes me have more pride in my country," he said.
Eugene, who's a 4.0 student, hopes to publish a book of poems he's already started to help pay for college.
He's not sure what he'll study but says he's interested in writing, drawing and journalism.
Eugene's dad has written a few unpublished science fiction books and says he's working on another.
When asked if he passed along his enthusiasm for writing, Allison said the boy's desire to learn is his own and something he goes after wholeheartedly.
"He's doing his own thing, and he's doing it very well," he said. "I couldn't be prouder of him than I am."