EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 14, 2013

Students jam poetry into school day

NORTH ANDOVER — You name it, they wrote a poem about it.

At least 70 North Andover High School students presented the second annual Poetry Jam on Friday. They wrote poems about nature, their families, summer vacations and childhood memories.

One student penned a poem about her dog; another dedicated several lines to her aging teddy bear.

A young man recounted his victory in a tae kwon do match; a young woman recalled “daily water fights” at summer camp. Several students read and translated poems written in German. Others accompanied their work with music.

Mary Gregoire, head of the NAHS English department, and Karen Kline, North Andover’s poet laureate, who coordinated the Poetry Jam, both said they were pleased with the creativity of the young people.

Ben Gleed, a junior enrolled in an Advanced Placement English class, wrote two poems. “True Knowledge” was based on a quote from Henry David Thoreau, while “The Fighter” told the story of the tae kwon do match he won against a seemingly overwhelmingly powerful opponent four years ago.

The Thoreau quote was, “It is only when we forget our learning, do we begin to know.” Gleed ended his poem with this message: “Decide how you want to live your life; it is your turn to run the show!”

In “The Fighter,” Gleed, a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do, described “a perfect balance of attack and defense.” Although “he hits the floor with an audible thud,” the fighter “staggers back to the ring.”

“Perseverence will always vanquish defeat,” Gleed declares. With “his kicks and his punches striking like lightning,” he wins the match, “Because this child knows that he is a fighter.”

Gleed, 16, told The Eagle-Tribune he has been studying tae kwon do for nine years – more than half of his life.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week