On Tuesday, February 26th, the annual Poetry Fest was held in our historic Chapel. Hitting upon on a variety of subjects from bumblebees to war, and from desserts to death, it was well received. One of the great things about poetry is the variety of contexts in which it can be used. It can make you laugh as Robert Radochia demonstrated in his comical “Literally a Sonnet about a Hornet.” Or it can make you see the darkness of the world like Daniel Bittner and Will Trotsky showed in their vivid poems about death. It can also be a great way to address social issues, like preconceived notions (Martin Wilson with “Black Box”) or stereotyping and identity (Julian Wambach with “Off Brand”). The only senior in the contest, Brian Antonelli, delivered a powerful poem on 9/11 and the tolls of war in the Middle East.
For any poets aspiring to be on the stage next year, this is my advice to you. Find a poem that delivers a unique message that resonates with you. Finding the right poem is the most important part of the process. One of the winners, Julian Wambach (Form V), told himself in his search process, “Don’t stop looking for a poem until you find THE poem.” It may take hours on the Poetry Foundation or Poetry Hunter websites, or browsing the library’s collection of books. Or it may just come to you without searching. Either war, the right poem is key. While it may seem daunting to get up in front of the whole school to recite a poem, a few middle schoolers proved this year that any student can command the crowd. Another finalist, Ben Ward (Form V), told me that he “Thought that he’d be incredibly nervous,” but when he looked out at the crowd and saw his friends smiling at him his nerves “went down the drain.”