The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Pop-Up Poetry typewrites personalized poems

A typerwiter and five minutes was all student-poets needed to form original, tailored poems during the pop-up poetry event from Tuesday, Jan. 16 to Friday, Jan. 19.

Writing poems can often be a long process; however, with just five minutes and a typewriter, student poets weaved together words to create meaningful poems for others. For the first time, writers in pop-up poetry booths popped up from Tuesday, Jan. 16 to Friday, Jan. 19, writing personalized poems and establishing connections with others.

Pop-up poetry is a system where people come up to poets in booths, and are interviewed for a few minutes to get a sense of what kind of poem they want. After, the person will take a quick walk and return to a poem made just for them.

English teacher Ben Berman applied for a grant through the Brookline Education Foundation to bring in poet, Brookline parent and Boston College Professor Allison Adair to lead workshops teaching students how to write pop-up poetry.

According to Berman, the goal of the event was to think of poetry differently. Oftentimes, poetry is a way to reflect on and express yourself; however, it can also be a way to create community and learn about others.

“The goal is to allow people to bring their own style and self-expression to the way that they write, but the poem is really inspired by the other person who they’re writing the poem for,” Berman said.

Senior Malcolm Urena participated by writing in pop-up poetry booths. Being in a School Within a School (SWS) poetry class, Urena said he was initially interested in the event because of the small amount of time he had to write the poems.

“It was interesting to me but also sort of made me a little bit nervous, because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to write a poem in five minutes on a typewriter,” Urena said.

Urena said he enjoyed this new way of looking at poetry. He said he especially enjoyed the deeper meanings that could come from simple poem topics.

“The process was really interesting because you would take a simple concept about dogs in the snow,” Urena said. “But then, you talk about what’s behind the image that you want the meaning of the poem to be about, and you think it through with the person that you’re writing for, and at the end, you have a work of art that you guys made together.”

Junior and Poetry Club member Tal Berreby wrote pop-up poems as well. Berreby said being on a typewriter did not allow her to fix her mistakes, which she learned to accept as part of the process.

“It can be difficult to feel proud of what you’re working on because you can’t go back and change anything you’ve written,” Berreby said. “But, I think that’s part of the process because I began to just accept my work for what it was instead of overthinking it.”

Berreby said her favorite part of writing pop-up poetry was the reaction she got when she gave people their poems.

“I’ll just read it to them in a really enthusiastic voice and then, just to see them with the poems, to hear their reaction to the poem is just amazing,” Berreby said.

Berman said he has participated in pop-up poetry before and enjoys the personal experience he can have. He said he appreciates how deep an interaction can be with someone he has never known before.

“I think that so many of our interactions with people are often on a surface level,” Berman said. “When you’re sharing art, you’re sharing something much deeper.”

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