“Poetry is life distilled.”

~Gwendolyn Brooks

Writing is the stuff of life itself. That which we write is inseparable from that which makes up our own lives. Alice Walker said, “I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book, If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?” As we grow and emerge as people, so too does our writing emerge.

VerbalEyze serves to foster, promote, and support the development and professional growth of emerging teenage and young adult writers, ages thirteen through twenty-two. We strive to help them develop as writers and find their voice as they mature.

Initiatives that support this objective include providing access to education resources, writers workshops, and publication opportunities.

Our hope is that through the efforts of VerbalEyze and the voices of young writers, you find yourself enriched, regardless of your age and life circumstance.

And above all… keep writing!

Tavares Stephens
Derek Koehl

Tavares Stephens, President

tavaresstephensTavares Stephens is a poet and spoken word performer whose stirring and profound poetry makes you think deeper and move up higher. The subject of Tavares’ poetry spans life situations, political and social issues and human emotions. He also weaves the art of storytelling into his work by relating his poetry to stories and experience that have shaped him as an artist, classroom teacher and servant.


Derek Koehl, Executive Director and Managing Editor

DerekKoehlDerek Koehl is a writer, educator, writing coach, editor, and publisher. He has written and edited across all the written genres, including novels, poetry, short story collections, playwriting, graphic novels and video game scripts. His passion, which is aligned with the mission and vision of VerbalEyze, is to help manifest a model of writing and publishing that is cooperative to its core.



Kelsey Beach, Senior Editor

KelseyBeachKelsey Beach leads a double life. She has degrees in both Engineering and English. By day she keeps planes flying and machines running. By night she writes novels, mentors young aspiring authors, and is thrilled to be one of the Senior Editors of VerbalEyze Press.



Kelly Piggott, Editor


Spellbound by folktales, mythologies, fairy tales and the traditions of old retold generation after generation, Kelly Piggott is a writer and editor of prose and poetry. Alum of Agnes Scott College with a degree in Creative Writing, she hopes to bring out the potential of young voices that more than ever, deserve to be heard.



Anne Chance, Business Development

AnneChanceAnne Chance received her Master of Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. Anne served as the historian for the Georgia Public Broadcasting World War II Oral History Project.  She mediated discussions among Liberian expatriots to integrate various tribal perspectives in a common history for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Committee here in Georgia.  She assisted a variety of nonprofits in creating written materials to pursue funding. Today she spends her work days on historic preservation, adaptive reuse and urban placemaking.  Her spare time is given to VerbalEyze because of her profound belief in its core values.


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