Offices & Resources

2019 Poetry Week Shines at St. Mark's
2019 Poetry Week Shines at St. Mark's

Poetry Week this April featured a plethora of poetic activities and events at St. Mark's, livening the campus this spring with creative competitions and more.

Poetry Week was facilitated by English teacher Sarah McCann, herself a talented poet, now in her 15th year on the St. Mark's faculty. Throughout Poetry Week, Ms. McCann posted poems around campus and sent out poems to the entire school community via email. Students also announced Poetry Week events at all-school meetings.

First and foremost among these events was the highly popular Haiku-for-a-sundae in the Hinkle Room on Monday, April 22. Students lined up to trade an original haiku of theirs for an ice cream sundae. Most haikus were event-specific. Some were celebratory, some were pleading, and some were classically creative—see below for just a few examples.

Spring has sprung today

Ice cream seems really nice now

Thank you very much!

Give me ice cream, please.

Give it to me now or else...

I will be so sad!

Someone holds their cone

dripping with sweat and sweet cream

as the worn sun drops

A bake sale was held to benefit PEN America, supporting poets living and writing in exile around the world. St. Mark's raised $268 this year to help that cause.

Seven different poetry competitions during Poetry Week provided many opportunities for members of the St. Mark's community to showcase their creativity. Advisory groups competed during seated meal, and that competition was won by Ms. Allyson Brown's advisory with a poem they called "New England Spring." On the wall outside the Communications offices, there was a Magnetic Poem House Cup competition, won by Gaccon with "A Symphony Plays." The winning Exquisite Corpse Collaborative Class Poem came from Ms. McCann's Blue class, with "Somebody."

Three individual student poem competitions took place. Jack Griffin '20 won for best rhymed poem with "Centaur Cure." Lily Wang '21 was runner-up with "Thor." Kendall Sommers '22 won for best formal poem with "Small Town Bones." Runner-up was Madeleine Wass '20 with "Poisoned Minds." Luke Lee '20 won best overall poem with "More." Sydni Williams '22 was runner-up with "there is a warmth." The Faculty/Staff poetry contest was won by Dr. Heather Harwood of the Classics Department, with "No Joke." Runner-up was Communications staffer Nick Noble '76 with "Spring?"

Mr. Noble also told the stories of and presented poems by St. Mark's alumni and former faculty to Ms. McCann's VI Form class. Poets featured included Henry Grew Crosby, Class of 1917 (Lost Generation poet and founder of the Black Sun Press); Robert Lowell, St. Mark's Class of 1935 (Pulitzer prizes in poetry 1947 and 1974, and U.S. Library of Congress Poet Laureate 1947-1948); Richard Eberhart (St. Mark's English faculty 1933-1941, Pulitzer prize 1966, Library of Congress Poet Laureate 1959-1961); and W.H. Auden, who taught at St. Mark's in 1939.

St. Mark's most recent faculty poet—Sarah McCann—celebrated the publication of Peripatetica, a collection of 34 of her original poems, with a poetry reading in the Parkman Room on Friday, April 26. More than 40 guests—students, faculty, staff, and friends—attended the event. Ms. McCann's poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and she currently holds the Tyler Chair in Creative Writing at St. Mark's.

As Poetry Week is part of National Poetry Month, it comes as no surprise that Poetry Week at St. Mark's lasted a few days more than one week. On Tuesday, April 30, VI Formers Mary Flathers and Reevie Fenstermacher organized a poetry service for evening chapel. They colorfully decorated Belmont Chapel with original poems by St. Markers. A wide range of poems were read by students and there was a slam poetry presentation as well. The choir also performed two anthems after students shared the poetic lyrics of each piece from the lectern. As Earth Week and Poetry Week overlap, both the slam poetry and a call-and-response reading were about the earth and the environment. It was an exciting and enjoyable chapel service.

A most successful Poetry Week at St. Mark's came to an official close with the announcing of the various competition winners at all-school meeting on Wednesday, May 1.