This week in Creative Writing 1, the sophomores have been leading poetry discussions. A few weeks ago, each one of us was assigned a chapter from the book Poems of The Millennium by Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris, along with a poem (within our dedicated chapter) to really go in depth on. The chapter I was assigned was entitled “Neo-Avanguardia.” Harmony’s was “The Misty Poets,” Kayne’s was “Concrete Poetry,” Rose’s was “Postwar Japanese Poets,” Isi’s was “Oral Poets,” Anna’s was “The Tamuzi Poets,” and Liam’s was “The Cobra Group.” These were assigned to us based on our acute interests and writing styles. I think that not only has this assignment helped us develop basic poetic skills, but it has also highlighted the importance of context by having us analyze a poem as well as the literary movement that fueled it. For example, Harmony’s poem, entitled “The Crocodile” by Yang Lian, would have induced completely different interpretations if we hadn’t known it was written during the Chinese Communist Revolution. Being a sophomore in world history, it’s been fun learning more about literary history and how it connects with what we are learning in class. Similarly, in my English class we’ve been learning about Dada, cubism, and other art scenes that characterized modern art. As someone who goes to SoTA it’s been truly enriching to learn to comprehend art history as more of a “web” rather than the stream of spontaneous, isolated events that, in my experience, we are often taught in school.
Angelica LaMarca, class of 2018