As the Grade 8 English curriculum builds to its culmination, students immerse themselves in the Poetry Anthology project, which challenges them to engage deeply with the work of poets and find their way into a relationship with poetry. Culminating with the creation of annotated Poetry Anthologies that showcase the insight and perspective they have gained through their work, students present their work in hand-crafted books on display in the last week of school.
At the June 2 presentation of the Poetry Anthologies, their teachers shared “found poems” created from the student’s own reflections – one for each of four English sections. Teachers Nick Young and Susan Bogue Myslik mined words and phrases from each section’s anthology introductions to weave together these “found poems” which provide a glimpse into each sections’ journey through the process of creating their books.
A Chaotic Cluster of Symbols That Somehow Form a Complex Meaning Or A Mostly Found Poem
By 8A & Mr. Young
If I was going to read something, it was certainly not going to be poetry.
I felt the world could not be encapsulated via a handful of metrical compositions.
While I won’t say I love poetry now, we have a mutual understanding:
Poetry knows that I’m hip to its games, no nonsense will be read
No random line-breaks, no birds that are secretly existential dread
And I know that there’s something to this poetry thing too
It’s a way to think about the world, about me, about you.
I like poetry because it doesn’t conform to rules.
Poetry is like an entire book written in a couple of lines.
It’s intricate yet calming at the same time
Reading poetry is like exploring a grand, full garden
Before now I had only experienced the ” best of the best”
The bright red roses, not the hard-to-find wildflowers.
Poetry is extremely similar to soccer as some people like them both, and some people don’t
Like gifts, poems serve as a portal into another world of another’s experience.
You could slap a random word generator once or twice and call it a day,
but poets who truly believe they are making art are strangely what makes their work art
This poem is like a patch of grass in such a way because it might catch a certain dog’s attention for them to dig a hole or it might be seen as an ordinary patch of grass in another dog’s eyes
Poetry and nature are like twins, you can’t have one without the other.
Nature gives us the world we live in while poetry helps us understand it.
Questions about life, death, and everything in between
Poetry helps me understand what I’ve seen
What is a home? What is a family? Is home bound to a place?
A person? Yourself? Can you choose your family?
Finally, lessons and sentiments to take home
Wisdom to guide us as we roam
While change is unstoppable, how we respond to it is a choice.
If we embrace it, change can shape who we are and help us to know ourselves.
If you are able to combine the ideas together you will be able to understand what I mean.
Handing this in was like finally being able to say, “I’ve survived through a global pandemic, AND middle school!”
A Poem for (and by) the amazing 8Beautiful
Oftentimes, everyday life offers little time for pause.
Time goes on no matter what,
The yin and yang of life create you,
a traveler creating their own path.
I didn’t want to go to school because Mrs.B said we had to do our poetry unit
I thought that I didn’t like to read poetry.
In many ways, poetry feels much alike to modern art,
but without the explanatory blurb explaining the “art piece”
I feel lost.
the words just look jumbled to me.
I read many poems that I disliked
constantly thinking and weeping.
Confident in my incapacity to competently analyze complex poetry,
there were routes that would cause me to get off track,
Things aren’t always as they seem at first glance,
I’ve now realized poetry is too broad to dislike.
Poetry is like juice.
There are different flavors that some people like and some people don’t like.
After days of reading multiple poetry books, struggling and complaining to Ms. B
a shard of hope after the storm
I was stunned to find something with beautiful meaning.
it felt like I was getting a better view through the window
a satisfaction borne out of analyzing every word and thought,
I enjoyed the element of mystery
confronted with a new and unexpected reality that paints everything in a new light.
Understanding poetry is like cutting a slice of a vibrant birthday cake,
That doesn’t mean that I won’t get a headache when I see a really long poem
But this unit has made me start to admire poetry
and want to read more poetry on my own time.
As the curtain call of my time at Park draws closer,
I have found some sense of comfort through the connections I feel to these poems,
Each of these poems reminds me of all the interesting places I’ve been.
I am trying to focus on the blossoms of the memories that I have shared
I am proud of myself and my final work.
This is my poetry anthology for 8B English in May 2022.
You are the Cat
by 8C & Mr. Young
You are the cat
The one staring out the window,
Watching whatever happens outside,
In the big wide world.
People, cars, and even ––hated–– dogs come and go
Their music dances harsh and mellow, fast and slow
Do they make their own rhythm, rhyme, beat?
Or are their songs our own neat feline feat?
This page––and these words–– are your window:
A poem is like a puzzle.
It doesn’t make sense until you put all the pieces together.
Poems are akin to puddles, Poems are like waves.
If poetry was an object in nature, it would be the sun.
My favorite poems are like treasures in a treasure chest
As you lick your paw and bask in the sun
Perhaps, fair to say you aren’t having fun
Here’s a fact for you:
Poetry is stinky. It’s overrated, oversaturated, created by people
Trying to write something that’s not grammatically correct
It’s like the feeling you get when you realize that
email saying you have a big meeting next
Thursday actually meant this Thursday.
And it’s Friday.
Many people will try to squeeze every single
drop of meaning out of a poem
Till it’s dry and shriveled
But while curiosity can be a dangerous friend
among our kind
If you use it well, there are new joys to find
The need of not needing to be correct changed my entire view on poetry
Each poem talks about a human experience that interests me
My favorite poems were those of perseverance and resilience.
I have now grown out of the “poetry hater” phase in my life
I caught a glimpse of that smooth, pillowy sand underwater,
And I held on to that glimpse until I could finally decipher the poem.
What you see out the window, you can make of what you will
You need not frill, skill, or fancy quill, only a moment to be still
The Opening Act
for (and by) 8Delightful
We all have stories to tell,
I love how goals start as dreams.
I always thought that poetry was boring and just for English teachers.
“‘Why cant we do something actually important?” were my exact thoughts when I heard about our poetry unit.
It felt like when I was five and was surfing with my dad and got hit by a large wave and pushed under the water.
Poetry gives me a headache.
It makes me want to rip the piece of paper into a million pieces and never see it again. And, I won’t lie, I did a fair bit of both throughout the creation of this anthology.
Poems are (also) like a cave, you can’t know their true beauty and worth until you explore deep inside.
I never thought poetry would cause me to better understand who I am and who I want to be.
I like the way two words can create a thousand thoughts and questions.
It’s funny how a set of words, combined together, can
create a different meaning for everyone.
Poems are like the ocean.
You don’t know their true beauty until you dive deeper.
And Ms. B always told me that I had to “dig deeper,”
I would respond with, “there’s nothing left to dig!”
I thought that it was going to be impossible.
And then For almost a week I scoured the cart
As I searched for the poems That spoke to my heart
I learned to pay attention to the smallest details much more,
“eureka” moments of understanding
Exploring the depths with a pencil as my flashlight
Pablo Neruda teaching me to cherish criticism
The elegant message “Stars at Night” by Iku Takenaka
Mary Oliver reminding me to listen and observe nature’s beauty.
The graded poetry book that belonged to my Great-Grandmother in 1905
Rupi Kaur, who made me understand the real meaning of poetry:
William Wordsworth reminding me of happy memories with old friends
Lisel Mueller talks about how hope can be both simple and complicated,
Poetry has brought me knowledge of history, famous figures, and new experiences.
Poems can act as way to release emotions, like a form of therapy
This project may have been a pain but was ultimately worth it
I wrote More than ‘thousand word count
( at 10 o’clock at night the day before it was due)
I thought it looked beautiful.
And these poems together gave me a new way to look at my day to day life.
both simple and complicated,
I wrote ‘bout the poems about deeper meaning
I wrote about love And why flames don’t cause screaming
We have accomplished something: the best version of ourselves
I now know I have the ability and power to accomplish anything I put my mind to.
I will remember.