Student writers crafting poetry, making literary art

The poetry scene, while hidden in plain sight to some, has been expanding recently. Even though one may not be aware of the different student writers in the school, there are some poets who are weaving and crafting their own pieces of literary art.

Sophomore Claire Newman won the Poetry Out Loud contest on Jan. 18, 2018, and advanced on to the state competition. She performed the poems “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller, and “Rondeau” by Leigh Hunt. Newman also often writes her own poems.

“Poetry’s my primary creative outlet,” Newman said. “Poetry specifically helps me express emotions that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to discuss or talk about or express in art, and it also gives me something that I can share and that people can understand. I try to channel my strongest emotions in words and I usually write them by collecting the poetic phrases I spontaneously think of throughout the day, and incorporate them into the poem.”

Another poet who has attracted attention for her performance is senior Sarah Saead. Her poems often invoke religious metaphor. She performed her self-written poem “Holy Love” in the January poetry slam.

“I watched the crucifixion scene from “The Passion of the Christ” for the first time sometime last year,” Saead said. “I started writing about my initial reaction to it, and I gradually came back to it. I would leave it, and then I would come back to it, and I referenced the Bible a lot for scriptural backing for why or how the crucifixion happened and how Jesus handled it. The night before the poetry slam, I pulled together all my different tidbits from my Google Docs and my actual journal and just consolidated it all into the format it is now.”

The popularity of poetry among students has gained more and more traction over time. According to English teacher Sarah Hechlik, the poetry scene has just recently gained a larger following and more of a community backing.

“I think in the last three years, the poetry scene has really grown,” Hechlik said. “Even in the last five years, it’s really grown. The English teachers specifically went to a training and met the creators of “Louder than a Bomb”, and since then we’ve really seen what a poetry slam can do and showcasing student voices can do, and then we started the slam at Dow High and the writer’s workshop.”

Sometimes, the students create poems which reflect their own views and opinions, and can invoke more critical thinking and deeper messages into their works. One of the poets who has made a splash for his thought-provoking poems is junior Andre Buckley. He performed his original poem, “War”, for the poetry slam, and got the award for the judge’s favorite poet.

“It was called “War” and it was about police brutality,” Buckley said. “I write a lot of stuff about that because I’m really passionate about that. I write a lot about self-love and different types of positive things, but when I initially started getting into poetry really hardcore, that was a big thing I wrote about. Police brutality, and just the whole BLM movement and things like that.”

The poetry environment at DHS is filled with developing young writers who are not afraid to show their talents and craft a wide variety of creative poems, ranging from politically charged, to humorous, to provocative, to emotional poems, and everything in between. They work hard to create their form of art, and one thing is for sure: they’ve got something to say.

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