By Rachel Houng
Throughout the month of April, poems plastered the walls of New Hyde Park Memorial High School in commemoration of National Poetry Month. Students were able to express numerous aspects of life they felt attached to by sharing poems about their cultures, emotions or environments. By practicing poetry in their daily lives, students and faculty experienced the beauty of literature and celebrated the importance of poetry.
Source by Anna Detke
Glads express their creativity with blackout poetry plastered on NHP walls.
Members of the Literary Luminaries, NHP's English honor society, took to the loudspeakers every morning of the month to share a variety of poems. Gladiators were able to start their day off with poetry from poets such as Walt Whitman and Shel Silverstein.
Students also expressed themselves at Poetry Night where enthusiasts could go to share a poem they wrote themselves or read a poem to which they felt connected. Listeners learned about the interests and beliefs of their peers.
“I had an amazing time hearing different poems and perspectives. I felt such inspiration hearing all of these beautiful pieces of literature. I definitely loved coming tonight,” junior Natalie Bak said.
Poets also described their cultural history which helped many students learn about native cultures and reflect upon their own history.
“My family is native Taino and our history was erased when the Spaniards conquered Borikén. Taino people were thought to be extinct, along with their language. My grandfather speaks Taino, and to honor him, my family and I made a poem with the language representing the island as the people's island, as opposed to the colonized island,” freshman Anelyse Lopez said.
Source by Mary Kay Mannle
English chair Mr. Otton opens up an evening of NHP Poetry; Emma Ouyang and Ms. Tomkiw entertain the students at poetry night as the night progresses; Sophomore Linda Cheung recites a poem expressing her feelings.
Organized by English department chairperson Mr. Graham Otton, Poetry Night was a great success, with students filling the library and sharing their stories. Poets were given a small participation gift and attendees had the opportunity to win books through a lottery. The night was accompanied by Ms. Tomkiw and members of the orchestra, who presented classical pieces for smooth transitions between poems.
"I think it was a really nice way for the department and the entire student body to come together to celebrate language and each other," Mr. Otton said. "It was wonderful to see how many students came to the event to support their friends in person, especially considering what we have all endured. More than anything, it showed how talented and creative our student body is."
As Poetry Month came to an end, members of the faculty "dropped in" to English classes and recited poems they felt strongly about. Gladiators also received a “poem in your pocket,” that they could carry around with them as a reminder of the power of language.
Even though Poetry Month is over, the everlasting impact that the month had on NHP will continue to spark creativity and bring appreciation to literature.