An "Ode" to the Poetry Anthology

Elisa D.
By Isabel A.
May 20, 2019

The Poetry Anthology might just be the most notorious and daunting assignment at Westridge. Every year, juniors are tasked with compiling a collection of 25 poems, including one in a foreign language and at least two they have written themselves, that fall under a specific theme of choice. After collecting said poems, they must also provide ten short analyses and five long ones. A year-long endeavor, this assignment challenges students to discover new artists, familiarize themselves with a wide variety of poetry forms, and learn about culture and history through the lens of language.

 

Although underclassmen live in fear of the Anthology and seniors shudder when remembering it, the assignment’s value should not be overlooked. Upper School English teacher Tarra Stevenson, whose junior students just turned in their Poetry Anthology last month, has found that one of the most rewarding aspects of the project from a teaching perspective is that it “creates a conversation about poetry” around campus. The assignment encourages students to share their newfound knowledge of a wide range of poems and poets with one another. While she wishes the project’s reputation weren’t so negative, Stevenson recognizes that it is a learning experience. “You don't know the rules of the game until you play the game.” And it’s true: over the years, surviving and completing the Poetry Anthology has become a rite of passage.

 

This year, Westridge juniors decided to celebrate their recently completed Poetry Anthology by composing their own poems in ode to their plight. Many eleventh graders refused to think about poetry so soon after the project.  However, others have submitted similarly-inspired tributes.

The Night Before 

by Gracie B.,'20

‘Twas the night before the poetry anthology was due,

And every junior truly believed they were screwed.

 

Desperately searching for poems fitting their theme,

Every junior had tabs upon tabs open on their screen.

 

Some swigged red bull while others cried,

But every junior wore their all-nighter with pride.

 

As the clock struck two, many began to fade.

Every junior was dismayed because three long analyses still remained.

 

They staggered in one by one throughout the following day,

Every junior just wishing to hit the hay.

 

An average of three hours of sleep and an abundance of coffee consumed,

Yet another junior class has conquered the Poetry Anthology, and so will you!

Pantoum of the Junior Anthology

By Elisa D., ‘20

 

Poetry anthology, due April twenty-six.

Does this fit my theme? If so, then perfect.

Another series of lonely midnight clicks.

I hope these twenty-six poems will connect.

 

Does this fit my theme? If so, then perfect.

It’s romantic, transcendental, I’ve moved past the age of reason.

I hope these twenty-six poems will connect.

After the third hour, I begin to ease in.

 

I’m romantic, transcendental, I’ve moved past the age of reason.

God, let me find just one poetic device.

After the third hour, I begin to ease in.

Could’ve planned ahead, should’ve taken their advice.

 

God, let me find just one poetic device.

Another five-six paragraphs to go.

Could’ve planned ahead, should’ve taken their advice.

What time is it? I don’t even know.

 

Another five-six paragraphs to go.

Those lyrics fill my vision every time I take a break.

What time is it? I don’t even know.

Procrastination is a fool’s mistake.

 

Those lyrics fill my vision every time I take a break.

And now I’m forced to look back on all that I have done.

Procrastination is a fool’s mistake.

Two page, introspective reflection.

 

And now I’m forced to look back on all that I have done.

I repeat the words out loud but they won’t stick in my head.

Two page, introspective reflection.

By morning, I will have become the walking dead.

 

I repeat the words out loud but they won’t stick in my head.

Another series of lonely daybreak clicks.

By morning, I will have become the walking dead.

Poetry anthology: due, April twenty-six.

 

Today is April twenty-six.

Untitled 

By Zaynab E.,'20

ms.

stevenson

said

that

i

had

to

memorize

17

lines

so

i

chose

a

rupi

kaur

poem

     - Rupi Kaur 

               - Zaynab E.

An Ode to the Poetry Anthology

By Isabel A.,'20

 

Oh mighty and dreadful Poetry Anthology!

Well now I know sonnet terminology,

Even though it won’t be useful in the workplace.

To think that I barely escaped from your embrace.

 

I didn’t know that it could get much worse

But now in my nightmares I can speak only in verse.

I must admit that I’m more afraid of prose

Than of any creature’s dark shadows -

At least monsters do not rhyme

Like I do in my mind at bedtime.

The anthology did in fact spark conversation about poetry, but more directly sparked text conversations between students. Here are some real life texts sent by juniors the day and night (that transitioned into morning) before the final anthology was due.