A St. Lawrence University freshman who's a published poet has caught the attention of a major newspaper, by becoming a best-selling author in his hometown.

Christopher Monaco '04, of Beverly, Massachusetts, was the subject of a story in The Boston Globe, by reporter Lisa Capone.

It states:

Christopher Monaco of Beverly wrote his first poem, "Life Itself," on the back of a program while he was bored in church during the summer after fifth grade.

"I guess the basic gist of it is that life is strange and sometimes you get thrown a curve ball," said Monaco, 19. "When I first wrote it, my mom and dad didn't believe me. They thought I copied it out of a book."

Now, as it turns out, someone could copy "Life Itself" out of Monaco's own book. "Wall of Pictures" includes Monaco's first poem and 69 others, arranged in chronological order from fifth grade through the middle of his junior year of high school. Published last fall, the book has sold out twice at The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, where Monaco is the youngest author featured.

"He writes very honest poetry, in a way he can communicate with people his own age - most of whom are not published authors -- but also with older people because the themes are universal . . . from alienation to celebration," said the shop's co-owner Pam Price.

Monaco said he wrote the poems to help himself navigate the choppy waters of adolescence, but he hopes they appeal to people of all ages.

"The whole point is to read it and say, 'Oh, I'm not the only one going through that' ," he said.

Monaco, a freshman at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, said he has already written more than enough poems for a second book and plans to talk this summer with Minerva Press of London about publishing another volume. He said he plans to major in literature and sees himself eventually teaching high school or college courses, while writing poetry on the side.

Monaco realizes it's unusual for a teenager to be a published poet. He recalls junior high and high school days when his literary pursuits caused more than a couple of raised eyebrows.

"I was just as athletic and sports-involved as any of my friends," he said, "but this other thing started coming into my life."

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