Friday, April 30, 2010

Poem by Corey Tesch

Making a mockery
of their specimen
A great T-Rex
lays motionless, emotionless
Powerless, Dead
its teeth examined
instead of ripping apart
Air Heads
and drinking Pepsi
Its Hands
curled, close to its chest
hold a straw
to suck up spit

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Poem by Dan Goldberg

A Colorless Graveyard

I enter the dreamless land once again, stepping over buried corpses whose minds lay in absolute peace.

The once blossoming tree now stands bare with arms reaching out in all directions. Perhaps, it is reaching out to the world as if crying for help:

Don’t let me die too!

All the flowers have disappeared.

All the flags have lost their color.

All to be seen are the remnants of a harsh winter--

What a gloomy graveyard.

I flutter; Gunn’s family still surrounds him.

But poor, poor Rossiter. Eternally imprisoned in a colorless graveyard with no family near by. His stone stands tall, but gray; a lonely gravestone glaring out over the rest. The embossed word screams out: “ROSSITER.”

“What is the difference? The dead are alike in the face of death. They do not talk and perhaps do not dream.” *

Maybe I dream too much.
* Excerpt from Mahmoud Darwish’s “Funeral.”

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Congratulations to the poets

Four seniors were honored last Tuesday for their contributions to Creative Writing at The Gunnery: Rob Badger, Zaid El-Fanek, Stephanie Hoffmann, Isabel Levy-Nance, and Michael Yuze Sun. Congratulations to these five talented and industrious writers, whose work has appeared in these pages before, or will appear here soon.


Four students, one from each class, were acclaimed for their prowess as reciters of poetry, which they amply demonstrated last Thursday night: Jon Hill, Sarah Shulman, KT McVeigh, and Lauren Reich. KT McVeigh was judged best overall. It was truly a great evening of poetry recitation. I've never heard this many students recite - twenty-three reciters giving the audience everything from Tupac Shakur to e.e. cummings. I didn't envy the judges!


Huge congrats to sophomore Alejandro Castro, who has just earned a pair of uncommon accolades: a poem of his was chosen for the ASAP Celebration of Young Writers on May 15th, and he was named among the finalists in poetry for Litchfield County for the IMPAC/CSUS Award for Young Writers. It's rare to get one of these, much less two, but when you read Alejandro's work you'll see why they couldn't pass it up; some of Alejandro's work can be read here on Green Hill.

Congratulations again to all these fine writers, and to many others not mentioned in this post, who make Creative Writing at The Gunnery immensely unpredictable and enjoyable.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Corey Tesch on David Hinton's Visit

On Tuesday, April 6th, The Gunnery welcomed the renowned translator of Chinese poetry and philosophy, David Hinton. A few English classes and other interested students and teachers went to the Gunn Memorial Library to discover Chinese language, tradition, and culture, and learned how these themes built through poetry and philosophy that has lasted over 3,000 years.

A large portion of Chinese poetry is about nature; it is straightforward, and it is more based on things seen than things felt. While at first, to tell the truth, I did not have an immediate interest in this type of poetry, learning some Taoist philosophy and a bit about Chinese language filled in the blanks. According to David Hinton, the ancient Chinese regarded themselves as empty: the mind is just a mirror that reflects what humans see and feel around them. By learning this, it was obvious why so much Chinese poetry deals with the visual and natural aspects of the world. The ancient Chinese were aware of their place on the planet as humans, surrounded by and part of nature.

After learning a bit of Chinese history, the philosophy and influences evident in Chinese poetry were understandable. David Hinton taught us that the ancient Chinese, influenced throughout history by Taoist philosophy, saw the world as, in Hinton’s words, a “world-dynamic, generative organism.” Everything is self-generating, and changing constantly. In fact, according to Hinton, “The fundamental basis of Chinese philosophy is change.” The Chinese were humbled, because they kept it in their minds that they were part of nature, and it is useless to attempt to control nature and change. The Western idea that control is necessary, and the general feeling that change is often a bad thing, was not evident in ancient Chinese culture.

It is well known that the dragon is an important symbol of Chinese culture, even to this day, but it wasn’t until David Hinton’s arrival that my classmates I and understood what it meant. Hinton taught us that the dragon mostly represents change, and he showed us pictures and told us stories that used the dragon as their major theme. One picture was a dragon wrapped around a mountain, symbolizing that change is always happening, and nature has built the landscape that we see around us. While the ancient Chinese did not know about tectonic plates pushing together, they were still very wise to recognize that nature as a force built much of the world around us. David Hinton also told us a story that explained spring and winter for the ancient Chinese. During the winter, the dragon sleeps in the deep sea, causing a period of little natural prosperity. In the spring, the dragon rises from its sleep and causes the rebirth of nature. David Hinton even showed us pictures of an ancient bone with writings on it, thought to be an actual dragon bone.

David Hinton also taught us the significance of the way Chinese poetry is formatted, and how that plays into the poems’ meanings. While ancient Chinese poetry is straightforward, and almost constricted to be more specific by the format of the language, David Hinton described for us the grammatical openness in his book, Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology: “words tend to have a broad range of possible connotation. This openness is dramatically emphasized in the poetic language, which is far more spare even than in prose. In reading a Chinese poem, you mentally fill in all that emptiness, and yet it remains always emptiness. The poetic language is, in and of itself, pure poetry.”

David Hinton’s presentation about ancient Chinese poetry and philosophy was very successful, as the students who attended took away with them increased knowledge and appreciation of the ancient Chinese and their long-lasting poetic and philosophical traditions. The Gunnery has recently announced that it will offer Mandarin as a language course in the 2010-2011 school year, furthering students’ appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture, language, and tradition.

Monday, April 12, 2010

haiku by Nick Strelov

I enter the room
Shake his hand and crack a joke
He stares back blankly

I enter the room
Pursuing entertainment
But nobody laughs

When nobody laughs
I find comfort in knowing
I make myself laugh

Friday, April 9, 2010

haiku. prose

Announcements are a form of institutional haiku. Students write haiku. Therefore some of the announcements we are walking by on screens could be haiku written by students.

They could appear randomly, unpredictably interspersed with the business of the day, which is how they came to be in the first place.

There should be no mention made of such orders of the day. Perhaps it will change people's behavior in an unprecedented and positive manner. Perhaps no one will notice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

translation becomes the dragon

There was a very good turnout for an inspiring talk by translator and poet David Hinton at the Gunn Memorial Library today. Thank you to the participating members of the Translation Club, Chao Liu, Yuze Sun, Millie Huang, and Danny Zoldy, as well as Patricia and Edwin Matthews, John Alter, Paula Krimsky, Karen Lincoln, and Eileen Aguirre. Wondering what the post title is all about? Look for an article here soon by Corey Tesch, reporting for the Gunnery News/Highlander.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Either we change the way we deal with copyrights — or works of nonfiction in a multimedia world will become ever more dull and disappointing..."

Read the op-ed piece by Marc Aronson in The New York Times here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poem by Soo Jin So

Spring Rain and Me

The spring rain is coming
Pouring and hammering.
Looks like it wants to say hello for a new start.
Knocking on the Earth
To wake everybody up

Wakes us too
In my eyes, some students don’t look happy
To start a new term
In the pouring rain
That helps the world look dirtier

But, for some,
The spring rain
Looks like it’s cleaning
the dirtiness of the world
Helping to make a new start

Looks like it’s giving
the growing little Green sprout energy,
Giving hopes
and dreams
to our growing little sweet minds

But everyone shares the feeling
That after the spring rain, after it
The rainbow that is seen over the school
And beyond that, the little sunlight
Helps us go towards hope

Everything is Clear and green,
The softest and the most fragile leaf
Are so pretty
Because of their purity that doesn’t have filth

Looks like Everyone has a smile on their face
Whether They know it or not

The spring rain
Looks like it is helping us make a new start.
Helping us to run toward,
toward our dream,

A fresh new start.

Friday, April 2, 2010

student show at the silo opens Sat 4/3

artwork by Rebecca Jean-Baptiste; Leyla Mansur; Katrina Kiritharan; Hallie Bonnar; Livia Wang; Justin Charles; Yea Weon Kim; Min Hye Chung; Lauren Beardsley; Rebecca Lee; Chaoyang Liu