This April, the Convent of the Sacred Heart community will join the nationwide celebration of National Poetry Month to promote poetry and its influence on world culture. Upper School faculty members have already planned poetry readings and events to bolster student participation in the month.
The Academy of American Poets founded National Poetry Month in 1996 after witnessing the success of Black History Month and Women’s History Month. Since its inauguration, it is one of the largest literary celebrations in the world. Schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets all participate in the month’s festivities, according to poets.org.
To kick off the celebration at Sacred Heart, Upper School English Teacher Dr. Cristina Baptista read Langston Hughes’ poem “Dreams” to Upper School students today during morning meeting.
Members of the Sacred Heart English Department have also planned activities throughout the month to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the art of poetry.
“Like all other literature and art, poetry is a form of social currency, and poetry’s typical abstraction and limitless possibilities better ensure that the current of conversation is fluid, unceasing and natural which is why Poetry Month is a prime time to engage with this oftentimes overlooked art form,” Dr. Baptista said.
Upper School American Literature classes will turn the Academy of American Poets’ successful Poem in Your Pocket Day, set for April 30, into a week-long event. During the last week of April, each student will carry a hard copy of her favorite poem in her pocket and reflect upon why those words are so potent and meaningful to her. In class periods, Dr. Baptista plans for each student to share her poem and say why she picked that particular work.
“I remember hearing people talk about Poem in Your Pocket Day last year and it seems like a great way to promote excitement in Upper School students about the art form of poetry,” junior Cynthia Thomas said. “I want to find a poem that really means something to me and that I’m really passionate about.”
In addition to Poem in Your Pocket Day, members of the English Department have also planned pop-up poetry moments where students can randomly recite and share either their own poems or those of their favorite poet.
Head Librarian and Director of the Media Center, Ms. Elizabeth Fernandez, has also started sending a Poem of the Day to students and faculty each day. In past years, she sent out poems written by a variety of authors including renowned poets Robert Frost and Mary Cornish. As her first Poem of the Day, Ms. Fernandez emailed the poem “From Among School Children” by William Butler Yeats to Sacred Heart students and faculty.
Ms. Fernandez will also celebrate Poem In Your Pocket Day April 30 by distributing poems to Upper School students in the library to increase school-wide participation in the event.
Outside of the English and Library Departments, Director of Educational Technology and Upper School Computer Teacher Mr. Karl Haeseler will ask his Principles of Computer Science students to design projects to present at morning meetings towards the end of the month. The students will program the gestures, voice and LED lighting of Sacred Heart’s robot, Storm, to celebrate American poetry in a new dimension.
Throughout the month, students also have the opportunity to share short poems during morning meetings and class meetings. Although members of the English Department have yet to determine a schedule for student-readers, Dr. Baptista urges any students who would like to recite poetry, either their own works or those of famous authors, to come forward.
In order to learn more about National Poetry Month and how to participate, please visit poets.org. For students interested in sharing their poetry at poetry readings or morning meetings, please contact Dr. Baptista at [email protected]
– Katie Nail, News Editor