Tenth Grade Poetry Assignment Gets Deep

Sophomores shared their writing and a bit of themselves during an English 10 poetry slam last week. The assignment, a collaborative effort by upper school English teachers Stacey Browne and Pilar Méndez-Cruz '12 and their students, was inspired by “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo.

“After a few weeks spent discussing poetry, both in written form and spoken word form, we asked students to compose their own poem that they would perform for their classmates,” Méndez-Cruz said. Upper School English Department Chair Geoff Nelson lauded the poetry slam, saying the work “encapsulates dynamic and authentic project-based learning.”

The poems expressed thoughtful and heartfelt emotions with themes ranging from friendship and names to origins. Fia Marrison ’24, who wrote and presented a contrapuntal poem using both English and Spanish, said the experience was “fun, but intimidating. My poem was called ‘Cafe and Tea,’ and was about my parents both being from different cultures and countries, and being a part of both cultures but still feeling like a bit of an outsider.”

Both Méndez-Cruz and Browne hoped the students would “take inspiration from some of the poems they had spent time with in class, while also being creative in their own ways.”

Andrew Killian ’24 wrote and performed “Andrew Is A Man's Name,” which considered “how I don't fit in with the typical description of a man, but I can redefine what that means, and I can be a man in my own way.”  
Browne said the students were supportive of each other and respected their work. “Everyone participated by reading their poems, and perhaps, even more importantly, by listening and celebrating each other.”
Added Méndez-Cruz: “I felt that we all got to know each other more deeply.”

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