Students and staff recite poetry in celebration of National Poetry Month


Minah Kim, Senior News Editor

The student body strolled into the library with berets and snaps for the fifteenth annual Poetry Café in celebration of National Poetry Month.  Students prepared a variety of poems ranging from original poems to raps to nursery rhymes.

“It was a very nice, relaxed event,” said senior Delia Van Praag.  “A lot of different pieces were shared, and delicious breakfast food was had by all.  The English Honor Society, the librarians, and specifically Ms. Cohan, really did a great job putting it together.”

The English Honor Society and library staff organized the event.  Members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society provided musical accompaniment for the first 10 minutes while poets and attendees chatted and ate bagels and muffins donated by local businesses.

This year’s hosts were seniors Van Praag and Benny Scheckner.

“Well, last year Ms. Cohan approached me and Decadence member, Jesse Weil, and this year she asked me to do it again with former professional wrestler Benny Scheckner,” said Van Praag.  “I sort of like to take the James Franco approach to hosting.”

Poems ranged from the profound, “Dreams are ships that take us where we need to go, As they sail the waters of Our Inner Universe” read by sophomore Jacob Bloch to rebellious epigrams entitled, “Oh, would you like me to be more like your ideal woman, more demure? I’ll sh*t in your food,” read by junior Emma Podolsky

Some students wrote poems to read at the Poetry Café, like senior Ben Lerner, who wrote, “Science, Beytch,” a poem based on the TV show Breaking Bad.

“I’ve been watching Breaking Bad for pretty much my entire life, so it was truly gratifying to be able to express my passion to such a rapt audience through slam poetry.  I wrote it at 7:30 after I ate an apple so I’d like to give a shout out to the Dole Food Company for giving me the energy I need to write what has been described as ‘the illest rap I’ve heard all morning’,” said Lerner.

Many students had special connections with the poems they chose.  Junior Noah White recounted his experiences in an outward bound program during which he had to live in the wild on his own for three days before reading, “If I had my life to live over” by Nadine Staire.

“Poetry touches the heart and mind in a way no other writing does.  It was evident that students put a lot of prep into poems.  They didn’t just randomly grab a poem.  They really thought about the poem they were choosing to read,” said librarian Ms. Mary Seligman.

The Poetry Café started 15 years ago.  The idea was conceived by two students and former Schreiber librarian Ms. Kate Herz.  With support from the English Department, the tradition has continued.

The Poetry Café had a performance from math teacher Mr. Joe Lederer who recited a short poem about mathematics and two Pi Day poems.

With no limitations of what they could read, some students took this opportunity to recite modern day rap.

“I truly appreciate the fact that our school has embraced and revitalized the ancient art form of poetry,” said senior Mike Berry.

Over 60 students signed up to read or recite poetry and each reading was met with snaps and applause from the entire audience.

“Schreiber’s commitment of the arts remains prevalent after the raging success of the Poetry Café,” said Scheckner.