May 15, 2017
On Wednesday May 2, 2017, the Atholton Media Center transformed into a laid-back, mellow coffeehouse environment full of poetry, music, and calming snaps from the audience. With the help of Poetry Club and National English Honor Society (NEHS), Atholton’s annual Poetry Night extravaganza was a success.
“We had a great gathering of people” said Ms. Lucente, NEHS advisor. “We had some great poetry and music: I don’t think you can complain about that. I think it was a really successful event.”
During the night, students read aloud their own works of poetry, while other participants sang or played instruments, including junior Katerina Graf playing the piano and senior Paige Gryski strumming the guitar. Student works included: Emma Danaher’s “Ode to the Ocean,” Amelia Yasuda’s “Please Don’t Let Me Not Understand Love,” Emily Dwyer’s “Broken But Beautiful Masterpiece,” and Nico Greenawalt’s “An Alternate Universe in Which You Do Not Give in to Your Father’s Rage.” Each poem had its own tone and message, and the inspiration for each poem varied.
“I actually wrote [my poem] after a dream,” said President of Poetry Club Eshna Kumar when describing her inspiration for her poem entitled “Half Remembered.”
“I named it because I only remembered half the dream. In the dream, I met a girl and when I woke up I only remembered half of her. So I decided to write about that experience.”
Others wrote their poems based off personal and family experiences, while some were inspired by simple everyday things, such as Yasuda who said the Disney Channel show Girls Meets World was the inspiration for her work.
One of the chief messages of Poetry Night was that anyone can write poetry and share their work, especially in this non-judgmental, supportive environment.
“It’s a very supportive thing and you will definitely not regret [participating],” said Kumar. “I know some of our members have shyer personalities but I think that’s kind of part of the appeal, in my opinion: our shyer voices can be heard and can speak out. It gives people who aren’t necessarily the most extroverted in general [a place where they] can express themselves, show their work, and get positive feedback.”
Poetry Night was not only for those who wrote poetry, but also those who wished to perform musical numbers and songs. Seniors Paige Gryski and Kaitlyn Shaw performed “Work Song” by Hozier as the closing act, while Lev Axler and Alex Myers performed “Dear Theodosia,” with Katerina Graf on the keyboard. The addition of music to Poetry Night added a new flavor to the event, welcoming all acts and not just a select few. Hopefully, this opens the event to an even larger group of people in the Atholton community.
“Perhaps next year we can expand it a little,” said Ms. Lucente. “We thought about making it a bigger event, doing more of coffeehouse type event with more music and stuff like that. I loved the song at the end. I think the music was a great addition.”
Poetry Night allowed students from all backgrounds to share their work and talents in the realms of English, writing, and music in a safe environment. It showcased Atholton students’ aptitude for creativity and acted as an outlet to express oneself. As Ms. Lucente put it, Poetry Night provided students with the opportunity to show their own work to the community, letting people “know that [literature and poetry] is still alive, it’s not a dying art. People are still writing it, still performing it.”