by Matt Gates
From morning announcements to Folio submissions, National Poetry Month is taking over WHS this April. According topoets.org, National Poetry Month was created by the American Academy of Poets in 1996 and is now celebrated nationwide every April. Schools, publishers, libraries, book vendors and poets celebrate through events such as poetry readings, festivals, displays and workshops.
According to the site, “the concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry…of wide aesthetic range and concern.”
Folio Club member junior Noor El-Sherbeini said Folio members and teachers have been reading poems over the morning announcements.
Said Folio Club member senior Caitlin Lawrie, “Folio’s April Coffeehouse was…an acoustic coffeehouse called ‘Folio Unplugged’ that put an emphasis on the spoken word and included a performance by Project 79’s resident poet, [Meghann Plunkett].”
Poetry is also an important part of the WHS English curriculum, including a yearly visit from a professional poet.
According to Folio Adviser Mr. Peter Horn: “Often, English teachers lean into poetry during April in observation of the month, although... we do poems throughout the year.”
Horn added, sometimes we’re able to coordinate the residency of the WHS Visiting Poet with National Poetry Month... but this year the poet [Taylor Mali] will come in June.”
Said El-Sherbeini: “Through raising awareness of National Poetry Month, our goal was to first get students to recognize the existence of a whole month dedicated to celebrating literature and poetry, and to hopefully inspire some to write and publish material of their own by the means of a literary magazine present within their school community.”
According to the morning announcements, students are encouraged to submit poetry and other work to the Folio magazine no later than April 30 by emailing to email@example.com, preferably by attaching a word document.
Said Folio Club member senior Alana Zepka, “We wanted a way to spread the beauty of poetry throughout the school and inspire [students] to write works of their own whether they wish to submit them to the magazine or solely use them as a form of self-expression….”
She added, “We all hope that this month has helped to motivate everyone in WHS to continue writing, reading, and appreciating poetry, and are looking forward to seeing some newly inspired student submissions soon.”
National Poetry Month aims to make poetry a bigger part of the school curriculum, according to poets.org.
Said Horn, “Because our poems happen alongside the morning announcements, I do think the line of Jersey poet William Carlos Williams is especially fitting: ‘It’s difficult to get the news from poems. But men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”’