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

Poetry Fest: Bonded in verse

Junior Natalie Tulipani read her original poem “Familiarity” before the 19th Annual Poetry Fest crowd, which took place on May 8th, 2024.

Light snapping turned to thunderous applause as English teacher Eric Colburn stepped off the podium. His last sentiment rang through the crowd: “Our words are other people’s words. Our thoughts are other people’s thoughts.”

On May 8, 2024, the 29th Annual Poetry Fest took place in the 22 Tappan Cafeteria. Eighteen planned speakers from all high school grades and identities took the makeshift stage to read their original poems.

The show opened with junior and host Tal Berreby, who approached the podium set in the center of the large window overlooking the Greenline– a soft backdrop, the periodic train rolling by– to introduce the poets.

The event was an opportunity for students with less experience in poetry to present, such as freshman Teren Lai. They said that they originally wrote their poem in a spare moment over April break and, after turning it in to their friends and teacher for review, Lai said it has developed into something they are proud of.

“I underestimated poetry for a long time because I always tried to emphasize physical arts like painting, clay or resin,” Lai said. “I’m realizing now, especially in high school where there are so many influences, that singing, music, dance and just writing, are also very powerful forms of art.”

Freshman William Chen said that the welcoming and casual atmosphere allowed him to be more comfortable as a new performer.

“This experience was truly amazing,” Chen said. “To think that the poem, called ‘My Name,’ that I shared tonight started from a forced English assignment that turned out really terrible! Yesterday night, I looked at it and said I am going to perform this and everyone is going to laugh. I revised it and put my own character into it.”

It was also a space for veteran poets, such as sophomore Golda Mark, who took a poetry course last semester. Mark said that they have had less time for poetry since then, so the event was refreshing for their passion.

“This was a newly written poem, and I didnt know how it was going to sound,” Mark said. “But I’m glad I got in the rhythm. It was fun to do spoken word again because I haven’t performed in a while.”

Freshman Gail Tromer said that she hadn’t spoken into a microphone in many years, and because of that she was unsure about how her poem would be received until the end of her reading.

“The impassiveness of the crowd made me feel like I wasn’t getting praise,” Tromer said. “But then they clapped and I was like, ‘that was really, really loud!”

The best way to summarize the event could perhaps be in the words of junior Noa Wilson, in their opening poem, “Turning off the Lights.”

“We just need to look. Look around! How many faces do you see? And how many people do you look for behind them?”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All comments are reviewed by Cypress staff before being published. To read our complete policy, see our policies underneath the About tab.
All The Cypress Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *