Student-Nominated, Editor-Selected

Featured with Billy Collins, Former US Poet Laureate

Billy Collins



So much gloom and doubt in our poetry—

flowers wilting on the table,

the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.


Dead leaves cover the ground,

the wind moans in the chimney,

and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.


I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets

would make of all this,

these shadows and empty cupboards?


Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,

my thoughts turn to the great

tenth-century celebrator of experience,


Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things

could hardly be restrained,

and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,



"Despair" is excerpted from Ballistics by Billy Collins. Copyright 2008 by Billy Collins. Used by permission of Random House. All rights reserved.




Christopher Alessandrini

The Day I Did Not Board the
7:19 at South Station

Man, with your styrofoam cup

jingling that change to make that

strange music that echoes off the

gray faded tiles of this subway stop,

Why are you smiling?


Girl, with your ballet shoes slung

over your shoulders– oh, those burdensome

satin slippers– your body poised

like a sliver of sunlight in the underground,

Why are you frowning?


Listen, to the gentle hum of the shuttle

as it slows to a halt, its doors heaving exasperated

sighs as they open to swallow us;

but today I'll stay behind,

never to see them again,

left to wonder,


Where are they going?





Katherine Mirani

Ode to Barbie

Happy birthday to Barbie!

Fifty years of age!

Of playtime and pink

And of feminist rage.

You've been a role model,

Worked at every career,

But your impossible waistline

Gives us something to fear.

Will girls starve themselves

For a Barbie physique?

Will they give up on school

'Cause it's sex that they seek?

But c'mon dear Barbie,

Let's give girls some credit!

Would they jump off a bridge

If it's Barbie who said it?

Probably not,

Since you can't speak at all!

I mean, really you're only

A small plastic doll.

Kids have figured it out;

Not all girls are your slaves!

Some have smashed you and bashed you

'Til your head is concave!

Happy birthday to Barbie!

The years passed in a blink

For a girl who's not real,

You've sure made us think.





Jinah Oh

Flower Child

You sat nestled in the chocolate Earth

Reaching for your nurturing mother.

Her majestic arms spread across the sky,

As flecks of her joy bounced off every surface.


Your sun soaked limbs

Caressed the sky's early morning tears,

Each one a prism of gleaming light.


Everyday I came to

Quench your thirst, keep you

Standing tall.


I forgot only once.





Anna Parker

It Is I

We gather here today to mourn the passing

Of our father, who was known for asking;

Such questions as "Why, who, when, how, and where?"

Father English, abandoned without care.

And so we have a eulogy tonight,

For that great language which through heightened strife,

Has died, left us with just an empty shell,

Of that we had once learned and loved so well.



Oh English! Language that we so adore!

So hard to learn, and yet so widely spread;

Our favorite poems are spoken nevermore,

Now that your flow'ry phrases are all dead.


Nobody now does call, "Oh, it is I!"

The answer "I am well," is oft ignored,

Instead, we find ourselves with open eye,

Seeing your golden letters much abhorred!


Mixed up with numbers, saying G 2 G,

Does N E 1 respect your prowess now?

Or switched with others, plurals with a "z"

We weep to see these changez made, and how!


These kidz 2day lack all the skillz to write,

T T Y L, and everyone, Good Night!


Copyright © 2002-2010 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose © 2002-2010 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission.