Poetry Madness: Final Four & Winner

Kennedy Swope, Staff Writer

Over the past couple weeks, Mrs. Barca, a teacher in the English Department, has been hosting something called “Poetry Madness.” What started out as sixteen poems has gone down to four, and by the time that you’re reading this, the winner will most likely have been announced. While there are four left, let’s dive into who they are and what poem was selected to represent them in Poetry Madness.

First of the four is Joy Harjo with her poem “If The World Ends Here.” Harjo is the first Native American to hold the honor of being the incumbent United States Post Laureate. She is also only the second Post Laureate Consultant in Poetry to serve for three terms. ‘If The World Ends Here’ is a poem with the central image or symbol of a kitchen table. In this poem, everything is connected around this kitchen table, whether it be childhood, adulthood, love, loss, birth, death, or beginnings and endings. This poem shows the circle of life in all of its stages, and how it keeps going around no matter what.

Second of the four is Maya Angelou with her poem “And Still I Rise.” Angelou, along with being a poet, was a civil rights activist and memoirist. She published many autobiographies, essays, poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, shows, movies, and television shows. Angelou has also won plenty of awards and honors, showing how she had been very active in her life. “And Still I Rise” is a poem about self-respect and confidence, showing how nothing can get Angelou down because of her self-esteem. Nothing can hold her back from life and the opportunities she has, not even the color of her skin. This poem was written in the most productive point of her career, and it surely shows.

The third poet, and one of the finalists, is Li-Young Lee with “I Loved You Before I Was Born.” Lee was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents. His father had to relocate to Indonesia with his family and started Gamaliel University. The Lee family had to flee the country in 1959 to escape anti-Chinese sentiment, settling in the United States 5 years after. Lee is the author of many books and poems, and “I Loved You Before I Was Born” focuses on love and the fact that love doesn’t always make sense sometimes. There is a sense of longing in the poem over time and space as the author explains his love to the reader in hopes that they will connect to it.

Lastly, the fourth poet and the other finalist, Tupac Shakur, has “The Rose That Grew From Concrete.” Many of you know who Tupac is, especially his music career, so there’s no need to delve deep into it. His poem is very short, but has a lot of meaning to it. It shows that, even when someone comes from a not-so-good place, they can still become great.

That’s all for the Poetry Madness final fours! Hopefully all of you voted for your favorites, and even if they didn’t make it, you still enjoyed the competition.

UPDATE: The winner is…”The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Shakur.