Make Your Courage Sing in Poetry
By Max, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot for San Francisco International High School, assisted by Martha Sessums who likes words
Hi. Max here. I’m the mascot for San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) thus the mascot for everything, including the ACE Poetry Contest. We’re the Huskies and I was the inspiration for the mascot of the school. That makes me very proud of the students who reflect our strong and courageous spirit.
Poetry is doing some wonderful and courageous changes to stay modern and keep the attention of current students of poetry. Rhyming patterns have changed and become more fluid. Some poems are read backwards or sprawl in circles around a page. Some look like paragraphs in a story that don’t worry about rhyme, just about each poets’ thoughts.
One of the best changes is the National Youth Poet Laureate position that is getting more prominence. The current Youth Poet Laureate is Alexandra Huynh who is from Sacramento and just started her first year at Stanford. The recent past National Youth Poet Laureate was Amanda Gorman who recited her poem at the 2021 Presidential Inaugural for President Biden. Both are pretty special.
Another inspiration about current poetry is that it is experienced via video, not just written down in words. That way we get to see poets personally express themselves with their poem and the visual experience makes the poem more real. It’s an experience for many senses, not just the words we read.
My favorite poem of Alexandra Huynh’s is called Inheritance and it’s about her experience in the last couple of years with the corona virus and the lockdowns and the way we all learned at school. She flips the experience to a positive, strong and courageous way to look at the past two years. I remember our student poems from last year’s ACE Poetry Contest and they reflected the tough times, but Huynh finds an amazing amount of courage in her reaction to the virus time. Here’s a video of her reciting the poem and here’s the last section because, after all, this is a written blog and Martha insists on words.
And years from now when I become ancestor, I will tell them all about the courage of distance. How we learned to hold space instead of hands. I will tell them about the color of courage. How loss echoed through an entire generation and the children became teachers. Learned love is not defined by age. I will tell them of this land we ripped from a people we can never repay but will try and try. I will tell them about the way a footstep can be felt on the other side of the planet. So, mind your soul. Move only in truth. You have inherited the sun. Now make it sing.
As mascot of SFIHS, I totally believe our students have the courage and strength to make their lives sing. We are Huskies. We make it happen. We work together with our teachers and staff to find our right paths, whether it’s a path to a Stanford or junior college, or a path to a trade school that provides us a more immediate career, or a path to finish high school and start working to support family. It’s about minding our souls and moving in our truths. Poetry can help us find our inspiration.
That’s why I love being the SFIHS mascot for the ACE Poetry Contest. Our poetry is strong, courageous and reflects our truths. Go Huskies.