A Canvas of Expression

Student-run, open mic poetry reading

John Jay’s literary magazine, Reflections, hosted an open-mic poetry reading in the school library on November 16. Co-presidents Oliver Berke and Mia Holbrook explained that the vision for the event was to celebrate the diversity of voices in the school community. 

“We thought it’d make sense that this whole hangout could be characterized as us painting upon this grand canvas with the hues of our different personalities, identities, and perspectives,” said Oliver. “This is meant to be a safe place for people to express themselves creatively to each other, and hopefully we can understand and appreciate each other a little bit more as a community because of that expression,” said Mia.

students share work connected to the theme of colors

An event of authenticity and vulnerability

community self-care

Throughout A Canvas of Expression, students evoked a rainbow of colors through work that explored nature, friendship, loneliness, the suburbs, community, family, gender, favorite characters from fiction, academic pressure, and the possibility of writing a “perfect poem.”

“Poetry readings are an act of community self-care; as our poet laureate Ada Limon said, ‘when we write a poem, we return to breathing,’” said faculty advisor Jessica Binney. “I was so impressed with both the brilliance of their poems and the supportive space they created for each other.”