National Poetry Month

student Recommendations

"Interregnum" by Weldon Kees
This poem is split into four parts, each addressing a separate party involved in a war, in this case, a peasant uprising. First, there are the rebels, then the defending aristocrats. Third, there are the spectators and veterans of past wars. Lastly are the objectors, those who do not contribute anything to the cause. At face-value, this poem outlines each of these party's involvement in conflict, but Kees also dealt with depression, a prominent internal conflict. This poem is his way of materializing this issue and giving each aspect of depression a face. The will to live are the peasants, the depression are the aristocrats, the past victories are the spectators, and sadness are the objectors. The will to live rising up against depression to thwart it by any means necessary, often in a very violent fashion. Inner demons encourage depression to fight back, but know that it is not completely good. The past victories are reminded of their own fights, and are told of the splendors of victory in a world destined for conflict. Finally, sadness cowers away and is the underlying setback to victory over depression.

Our SLUH community is not entirely compiled of depressed students, but sometimes, the stress of schoolwork, homework, and extracurriculars drive us to madness and eventual mental crash. In this crash, we feel hopeless, vulnerable, and unmotivated to continue work. Although we may not be dealing with depression that involves putting our life at risk, we certainly endure some sort of academic depression, whether it is feeling unmotivated, or constantly being tired of school, or even simply not caring. This poem can provide some sort of median to relate to in those troubling times. We can use the poem and substitute the parties involved in our mental war and work through the problem through each stanza and line.

- Recommended by Maksim Juric '20

a spirit of april

For ages, poets—William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes, to name but a few—have been inspired by the month of April. From Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous celebration of April’s “sweet showers” in his opening to The Caterbury Tales to T.S. Eliot’s unforgettable lament in “The Wasteland” that “April is the cruelest month,” April figures prominently in some of the greatest poems. Perhaps this is because as both in nature and the spiritual season of Easter, April is a time of renewal and rebirth, a time when nature explodes with new warmth, new color, new life--or as the great Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, wrote in his poem, “Spring,” “all this juice and all this joy.”

Thus, it is fitting that April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate and to promote the reading of contemporary poetry, the SLUH Junior English teachers are sharing a poetry “recommendation” from a SLUH junior of a memorable poem on each of the remaining school days in April, a product of the Junior English independent poetry project. Please sample and enjoy these poems and nominations; though many will offer the opportunity, as Robert Frost famously quipped about poetry, to “begin in delight and end in wisdom,” you may find some of these poems will challenge you, even push you toward growth that may make you uncomfortable. Please know we offer these poem's in a spirit of goodwill and, well, a spirit of April.

- Mr. Kavanaugh and the Junior English Team