Right before the celebration of Christmas, on December 20, 2012, Mt. St. Michael’s Academy, an all boys Catholic High School in the Bronx, celebrated its Annual Poetry Night.
(Cynthia Turnquest-Jones, parent of Mt. St. Michael’s Academy student and founder of Tha B.U.M.P.).
Parents, staff members and students filled the school library, a humongous space, complete with chairs, a podium, books on shelves that covered square feet, topped off with coffee, pastries and sandwiches. While guests waited for the show to begin, people laughed and conversed with a sense of familiarity only seen in a community setting, whether they knew each other or not.
(Student performing spoken word at Mt. St. Michael’s Academy.)
Students performed spoken word poems, addressing the tragedy in Newtown, CT, prayer, passion and their futures from their own perspectives. The poems were spoken eloquently, clearly illustrating the potential that each had to go beyond their standing points. The drummers performed with precision creating an ambience which they had complete control over. The Preston Girls Choir (the “Sister” school of Mt. St. Michael’s Academy), sang Christmas carols that reminded the audience of the reason for the season.
I was the guest speaker, invited by Principal Brother Stephen Schlitte (picture above) to recite poems from Poetry 2Life. As I apporached the podium, I was filled with pride. The students who performed and spoke before me inspired the two poems that I chose to read. “Genesis” was a poem about a bully which was relevant to all of those in attendance, considering the issue of bullying is not one dependent on age nor class. The last poem that I read was, “Poem for the Ill and Shut Down”. A poem that reflects the hope for liberation amongst those of us who have faced oppression and sorrow.
(Poetry 2Life by D.D. Wright on display at Mt. St. Michael’s Academy)
The show was simply amazing. To be in the presence of creativity, supportive parents and hard working school members in a setting honoring poetry
was most inspirational. Being an author was the most insignificant at that particular point, being a member of the audience meant far more. Poetry lives on…