CN PoetryInTheWRCGathered around a large plate of cookies, and set against the drama of whether the pizza would arrive on time, a couple dozen students and a handful of faculty from the Upper School met on Wednesday to celebrate National Poetry Month. Midway through Nueva’s Art Appreciation Week celebration, the group was immersed in verse from the likes of Allen Ginsberg, William Shakespeare, Wallace Stevens, Jack Spicer, Ernest Thayer, and Pablo Neruda.

With student-written haiku posted on nearby walls providing ambience, the audience listened attentively to recitations by Finley F. delivering Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64, Justin S-L. with Ginsberg’s Howl, and ninth grader Jake V. reciting a piece written many years ago by his own grandfather, called Old Man. One unique offering was the lovely a cappella musical treatment of a Spicer piece called The Diamond, sung by Josh R. It is just one of several Spicer pieces Josh is setting to music for string trio and voice.

Faculty members also contributed to the day, with upper school Spanish teacher Julietta Bekker reading one of Pablo Neruda’s love sonnets, delivered in both English and Spanish, while Lily Brown, upper school English and creative writing instructor, recited a personal favorite of hers, Stevens’ The Man on the Dump. Some heartfelt original pieces were presented by faculty member Scott Swaaley.

This was Nueva’s first poetry event of its type, but it is not likely to be the last. Jan Patton, research librarian and the originator of this event, was already preparing to repeat the event next year — but, at the urging of the participants, the next one could come as early as next month.

A spirited reading of Thayer’s Casey at the Bat, delivered by Patton herself, capped the day, and while — spoiler alert — the Mighty Casey did strike out, no one else was so unfortunate and a splendid time was had by all.


 April 28, 2017



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