Over two years ago, a notebook was found on a bench near the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport. The book was full of poetry – detailing the highs and lows from a life of addiction. 

The book’s author remained a mystery and for two years it sat on a shelf. Over a month ago, the book was given to me. Upon reading through the poems I became fascinated with finding out who wrote it. 

Kelsey’s story

Kelsey Yost was born and raised in Williamsport. Her parents were drug addicts and alcoholics and from them Kelsey says she learned what not to do. From an early age she yearned for escape, spending as much time away from home as possible – with friends, at school or through sports. 

She was determined not to turn to drugs, like her parents, but eventually Kelsey found that the easiest form of escape was just that. As is the reality for many who turn to addiction, Kelsey had finally found a way to leave behind the harsh reality of her world. 

The death of her mother at age 12 was a confusing time for Kelsey. She remembers a sense of relief, in some ways understandable because of the strained and abusive relationship she had with her mother, but in other ways heartbreaking because Kelsey chose to cope with her mother’s death by distancing herself from every part of her. 

As the years went on, drugs and alcohol took control of Kelsey’s life – exacerbated by the death of her father some years later. 

Kelsey’s escape from the world now became the cause of more problems as she started to build a criminal record and eventually lost custody of her daughter. 

But even deep in the throws of addiction, it was poetry that helped Kelsey find clarity. A natural form of expression, the words came so easily to the page that Kelsey often didn’t even have to think as she was writing them down. 

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