Friday, April 01, 2022

The View From Somerville Edited by Somerville Poet Laureate Lloyd Schwartz


The View From Somerville  Edited by Lloyd Schwartz  Cervena Barva Press, Somerville , MA.

Article by Doug Holder

At a recent poetry reading Somerville Poet Laureate Lloyd Schwartz handed me a poetry anthology. Not just any poetry anthology, but this collection is by Somerville High School students. Schwartz got a grant from the Academy of American Poets, funded by the Mellon Foundation. He has used some of this grant money to encourage and publish young poets. Schwartz writes in his introduction,

 " I asked students to write poems about their city--anything they wanted to write. Some of them asked if the poems all had to be positive,  'No,' I told them, 'in a poem you can say anything.' Can I really say what I think of bike lanes?' one of them asked. I said, 'yes, and I would really like to read that poem.'

Among the many poems I enjoyed, I thought I'd include this little gem--that is sure to bring you back to your school days of yore.


The blue and red at night

The girls bathroom never having soap

The teachers yelling at students to get to class

The cafe sounds like you're at a concert at lunch

The stairs crowded like a pit at a concert

The hall smelling like fart spray

And the school spirit on fridays

----Aryanna Ray

And how about Maya Roldan, whose wistful poem "Wash. ( A walk home, Bon Iver in my ears)" brings lyricism to the sometimes mean streets of our city, "Cinematic chords in/ Weeds and smoke/Chain link/ Overgrowth/Reflection in water, windows..."  

 Do you want to know how Somerville High is like chicken nuggets? Want to hear odes to the Assembly Mall? And who would of thought that the banal Medford St. would inspire poetry? Ah yes, sweet mystery of life! Thanks to all the young poets who gave something of themselves to the city we love!

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