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The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

Hannah Brodsky named school’s inaugural poet laureate

Lea Von Hilgers
Hannah Brodsky ’25 holds the gifts she received after being named Poet Laureate on May 17.

“I cannot draw the face of my God,

but I know the name.

Apricot, fruit of strangers

who march across the wasteland streets, the homeland streets, of promises and pleasantries, whose eyes blend

into a sea that sees red and orange.”

Thus begins “Apricot” by Hannah Brodsky ’25, the school’s inaugural poet laureate, selected on May 17 by a committee comprised of the librarians, faculty, and students. Hannah’s role will include composing poems, planning poetry workshops and events, and promoting them at various school gatherings throughout the year.

She submitted “Apricot,” a poem written in the surrealist style of her favorite poet, Pablo Neruda, as part of her application, she said.

“The apricot is not a direct symbol, but instead is more a motif to examine my relationship with my family, religion, and culture,” she said. “I wrote that poem to express gratitude for those parts of myself and describe my journey appreciating my own identity.”

She also submitted a poem called “Some Day Soon” about her memories in Cape Cod with her family.

“Both poems are incredibly personal and I’m very proud of the way that I used his style to tell my own kind of personal story,” she said.

Hannah decided to apply for the position because she wanted an opportunity to share her poetry, she said. She started writing poetry in elementary school to tell stories, she said.

“I love that it can really perfectly encapsulate parts of life and human nature that I don’t think people talk about very much,” she said. “It’s incredibly universal and a wonderful way of expressing yourself without having to do anything really drastic, just putting it into words.”

Next year, Hannah plans on hosting slam poetry events and inviting poets to speak to students, she said. She would love to create opportunities for students to share their poetry and make it more accessible, she said.

“I want to teach others to be bold with poetry. I think people find poetry really unapproachable and this language of old, but I think it’s really not so, especially now with modern poetry movements. There’s so much room for individual voice and that’s something I would love to encourage.”

Upper School (US) Librarian Shawnee Sloop admired the poem, she said.

“I felt like it was really accessible, understandable, and it really got you feeling and thinking, which seems to be the ultimate goal for poetry.”

The poet laureate program was inspired by a similar program at Revere High School, the school at which US Librarian Maggie Kelleher, who is on maternity leave until early June, previously worked.

“The poet laureate position was created half as a leadership opportunity for students, and the other half as sharing an interest and a joy in poetry,” Ms. Sloop said. “We felt like students would really love the opportunity to take on a leadership role that would allow them to plan events and share poetry throughout the school community.”

A poet laureate’s term lasts one year.

“One-year terms allow the student to have time to brainstorm how they want to celebrate poetry at our school, whether that is events, more poetry-like programs, or speaker opportunities,” Ms. Sloop said. “My hope for this position is that the poet laureate for the next school year is really excited and has ideas about celebrating poetry throughout our school and how it’s unique to the student’s interests and the student’s visions, and how that’s going to change from year to year.”

Mrs. Kelleher created the application, which asked students to submit two original poems and answer three short response questions: Why were they interested in this position? What their ideas would be for potential poetry events at our school? Why are they interested in poetry?

Ms. Kelleher announced the program to faculty and students and then asked for volunteers to serve on the judging committee. Everyone who expressed interest in serving on the committee was able to. Because the committee unanimously decided that Hannah should receive the honor, there was no interview process.

Hannah embodies the qualities of a poet laureate, Ms. Sloop said.

“It’s not just who’s the best poet. It’s who is interested in poetry, who wants to celebrate that and who wants to share that with our community, and who has the leadership skills to do that successfully,” she said.

Hannah’s passion for poetry set her apart from other applicants, Ms. Sloop said.

“Her responses were thoughtful. She isn’t just a gifted poet, she also has ideas about how we can bring a love of poetry to our school.”


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Emilia Khoury
Emilia Khoury, Managing Editor
Hi, I’m Emilia, the Managing Editor. I love to hike, spend time with my friends and dogs, and try new foods. 

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