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PS Students Come Together to Discuss Poetry in Moments of Crisis
Monica Chen

Last week, Prep School history teachers Chris Blockus and Donna Russo led a discussion on activism through poetry as part of Black History Month. The group read two poems, Amanda Gorman’s Fury and Faith and Saul Williams’s Coltan as Cotton. Together, the group examined how these works speak to current events and the meaning of the poets’ words during this time. Notably, students pointed out that Amanda Gorman’s poem addresses the split in the country, as her poem was written in response to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Then, the group moved on to watch performances of two other poems: Amanda Gorman’s In This Place and Saul Williams’s Down for Some Ignorance. They contemplated questions such as what Williams’s phrase “down for some ignorance” meant and what he was suggesting about the dominant attitude of American culture towards others. On a broader scale, students were asked to reflect on whether or not they thought poetry could function as a way to not only express current issues, but as a way to unite the country. Upon contemplation, students came to the conclusion that while poetry is powerful, nothing has the force to unite anyone who does not want to be united. Overall, the powerful discussion elicited by the examination of these poems demonstrated the strong role that poetry has in creating dialogue about current events.

  • Prep School

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