Showcase Combines Poetry and Performance

This year’s Outspoken Winter Showcase was a joyous celebration of poetry as art.

Thirteen upper school students in Outspoken, the School’s spoken word performing group, shared their latest work with the community on Friday, February 3, in the Experimental Theater. 

Esme Talenfeld ’23, Outspoken co-chair, was “excited to explore both poetry and performance, experimenting with physicality, vocal technique, meter and rhyme.”

Talenfeld, who wrote and performed “Sonnets for the Sake of Themselves” and “To-Do List For a Poem About Love,” noted that though the poets had very different styles and subject matter, “there were some recurring themes: identity and gender, self-actualization, love, childhood friendships and anxiety.”

“My poems played with performance more than they did with narrative,” explained Viviana Simon ’24, Outspoken co-chair. “‘Fortune’ was about the bonds of marriage and the consideration of a wife as capital, as an asset. I wrote ‘A Bloodhound Knows’ trying to capture a feeling of frenzy juxtaposed with calm.”

Faculty advisor and upper school English teacher Miriam Emery was impressed with the students’ creative displays of personal expression. She was not alone. “There was a sense of wonder and awe within the audience — and even many tears were shed by people in the theater, since the poetry and the performances were so moving,” Emery said.

Simon acknowledged the powerful connections felt that night. “We formed a bond with the audience right away, and it made expressing our candid emotions that much more gratifying because we could see our intensity of feeling mirrored in the audience,” she said.