As part of their poetry unit, 7th grade English classes created a portfolio with five original poems. They learned about SAWFIT—summary, analysis, word (choice), figurative (language), imagery, and theme—and considered these elements when creating their poems that explored a variety of topics. “From their favorite moments of springtime, to sports, stress, and anxiety, or a love poem to their dog, I never really know what we are going to get,” said Maggie Dunson ’09, 7th Grade English Teacher.
After composing, students gathered at the Poetry Cafe to share their work with classmates. Sessions were held in the Alumnae Room and the Harris Reading Room, spaces transformed by dim lighting, glowing stools, streamers, and other decorations, with some students participating via Zoom.
“It was quite exciting listening to my classmates’ poems because they often took an unanticipated spin in order to rhyme,” said Shil Penilla ’26.
“Every year, the students demonstrate creativity, vulnerability, and poise as they read personal poetry in front of their classmates. It’s one of my favorite activities all year,” Dunson said. “I love hearing what the students write about and always learn something new about my students.”
Carrie Clennon ’26 enjoyed the experience. “During the presentations, everyone had compliment cards for another person, and it felt great to read them after we read our poems. I was nervous going up to the front of the room, but once I started my poem, it felt a lot easier, and I felt proud of myself after,” she said.
Narya Phatak ’26 agreed. She said, “The poetry unit was fun because it was a new way to express our thoughts. It was a safe space to talk to the class about our writing.”