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NHP Celebrates Poetry Night and Month

By Sania Daniyal and Linda Cheung

Every year, National Poetry Month is celebrated throughout the country, including at NHP. For the month of April, the English department planned events to inspire students to experience and appreciate poetry in many different ways. 

Throughout the month, NEHS members were instrumental in the planning and execution of the core activities and events. Students created promotional material, decorated the English hallway and facilitated interactive activities during the month. All NHP students and staff were greeted with poetry on "Poem In Your Pocket Day" on April 18 when NEHS students and English teachers distributed pocket-sized poems to all entering the building.

Source by Linda Cheung

Students from Ms. Sansotta's poetry workshop series, including senior Safiya Hamdani (pictured) perform original poems created during the program, with guidance led by Professor Kimiko Hahn, Ms. Sansotta and Mr. Otton.

There were also numerous classroom-focused activities scheduled during National Poetry Month, such as blackout poetry and creating poems to be displayed in the English hallway. Some English teachers taught lessons surrounding poetry and prompted students to create their own original works.

“We often forget that writing is not just for analysis and argument, but it’s also a way to express ourselves. This is our yearly reminder that writing can be creative and it can be art,” English teacher Ms. Sansotta said. 

Additionally, freshmen had the opportunity to visit the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association in Huntington during the week of April 2.  The four days of morning and afternoon trips included  students and chaperones that participated in poetry workshops based on Whitman's style of writing, viewed an historic video focused on Whitman's experience growing up in New York and took a tour of the historic Birthplace, built over 200 years ago.

It was a heartwarming trip that brought warm memories about the impact of poetry,” freshman Mariam Dar said.

Source by Mary Kay Mannle

Students on the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association field trip engage in poetry exercises and take a tour of Walt Whitman's home as a young child.

One of the biggest events of the month included the Evening of Poetry and Art on April 18. The celebration incorporated NHP student presentations of original and published poems and a showcase from each respective department collaborating during the event (Art, English, Music, and World Languages Departments). Band and orchestra students provided musical accompaniment to the poetry readings. The art department showcased works created by students in the venue.

Poetry night is such a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arts, and it’s one of my favorite events of the year,” Ms. Sansotta said. “It’s a beautiful moment for students to share a little bit of themselves with their classmates which takes tremendous courage, and the support we see from the audience is just as impressive.”

National Poetry Month at NHP didn’t only focus on the study of poetry, but also allowed for students to work on their own writing skills. Students were then provided with a variety of ways to present their works, such as poetry night or posting them in the hallways. 

“I honestly regret not coming to poetry night last year, because I think this was incredible,” senior Safaa Mufti said. “I think it was so well organized, and I really regret not recording some of this poetry because it was so well-written and I think that being a part of this was something that I really enjoyed and something I would definitely do again, and I wish I could come again next year.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Sophomore Lindsay Kim shares poetry at the Evening of Poetry and Art event. Students read a combination of original poems and works written by other poets.

“It was amazing,” junior Clayton Yu said. “It’s so cool that New Hyde Park has such a well put together event like this, and it’s so good to see different parts of multiple communities within our community come together for this whole event. I was really impressed by a lot of the poetry, especially the Italian poetry. The music was great. Jaiden was there, he was great as always.”

However, the event’s success would not have been possible without careful and thoughtful planning led by several teachers. The combination of poetry, music and art required collaboration with teachers across departments in order to ensure a seamless Poetry Night. 

Source by Linda Cheung

Senior Jaiden Thomas provided musical accompaniment at the Evening of Poetry and Art. New Hyde Park's Poetry Night presents an opportunity to showcase student writers, musicians and artists.

“It starts back in the fall. I talked to some of my departmental colleagues, and I talked to Dr. Marino, who really did a lot with me to organize this,” English department chairperson Mr. Otton said. “I talked to Mr. Rutigliano from World Languages; that’s why we got the Italian translation. I talked to Mr. Monat to have all of this wonderful music there. We all get together and think about what we can do.”

Overall, New Hyde Park’s third annual Poetry Night proved to be a success. Poetry Month ended with a culmination of artistic expression, from visual art, to performing art and literary art. Poetry Night would not be possible without the leadership of teachers and administrators across several departments, and the contributions of students dedicating their time to perform music, read poetry and volunteer. 

Source by Linda Cheung

Students participate in a variety of Poetry Night activities, including a poetry inspiration exercise, a poetry guessing game and coloring, among many others.

“I’m just immensely proud and grateful that I’m at a school that can have an event like this,” Mr. Otton said. “I don’t think this could happen just about anywhere. There are so many kids that are just amazing, and willing to share themselves, their ideas, and to be out here in support of one another; it’s just very cool.”


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