“I Wish You Knew” Poetry Signing Event


A Picture of the Poetry members during the event.

North Point High School’s poetry class recently published their book titled “I Wish You Knew” which features original poems from all the members of the class. The class then held an event which consisted of the poets answering some questions, asked by Isaiah Nwokeuku, about the book and their poems followed by a book signing. The class consists of 11 students who all participated in the creation of the poetry book. Here’s a list of all the current 2021-22 students: 

  • Morgan Baldwin 
  • Gianni Ball 
  • Vondel Butler 
  • Fionnah Cabatbat 
  • Cheyenne Hicks 
  • Paulina Jibodu 
  • Genesis Mejia 
  • JD Russell 
  • PJ Ungerer 
  • Nadiyah Vaughan 
  • Sam Wells 

The poetry class had tremendous help from their teacher, Ms. A’leese Dickerson, who would often have her students do activities to help with inspiration. JD Russell explains, “There was this snowball day that we had where we would write the first line of our poem and crumble up the piece of paper and throw it around the room. We would pick up the piece of paper that was closest to us, read the first line, then write another line to go with it. We continuously progressed until we finished the poem.” Later on, the students talked about the impact that COVID had on their writing, with most saying how being so restricted led to the fruition of their creativity. Being on lockdown directed these students to return or continue using writing as an outlet of expression. 

Students in the class also mentioned how tightly knit the group has become. Nadiyah Vaughan mentions, “Throughout this year, as I got to know everyone, I can understand what their writings are telling me just by how they write it and what it’s about because of the bonds I built with them.” Some of these students have known each other for years, some even dating back to elementary school. The group has created bonds with each other and can easily identify fellow members through their writing.  

As mentioned before, this poetry book is published under all the students’ names. Isaiah Nwokeuku asked how friends and family reacted to the news that their poems would be published in an official book. Cheyenne Hicks responded, “My friends that did know were very excited. My family was excited, specifically my grandmother.” Cheyenne continued to talk about her grandmother’s excitement and how the rest of her family members shared that same excitement. Sam Wells stepped in soon after and said, “What made it so big was that [the book] was actually published. You could look it up online.” Sam also mentioned that the poems were submitted using Turnitin, an online plagiarism detecting service. “If somebody uses my poem, [Turnitin] will show it.”  

The students feel just as accomplished to be published authors as their friends and family are. They are all even proud of the personal goals that were accomplished within the class. Some even had personal growth as noted by Nadiyah and Cheyenne, who both mentioned the growth seen by Nadiyah. “This class improved my ability to publicly speak and improved my creativity,” Nadiyah says. Cheyenne followed up, “I’m really proud of everyone that I’ve seen grow over the years and seeing their confidence go up. Especially Nadiyah, I remember everyone thought she was a quiet girl. But then at our first coffeehouse, she read one of her poems and we were all like ‘wait, where did she come from?’ and I’m just so proud of everyone and how they’ve grown.” 

Sam Wells, Nadiyah Vaughan, and Isaiah Nwokeuku all shared their writings with the audience. Sam Wells wrote a poem titled ‘Melody’ which was based off a prompt received in class which featured music notes. Nadiyah Vaughan shared one of her poems titled ‘Trending.’ Nadiyah wrote the poem specifically addressing young black men and women. The poem was an outlet for her feelings while addressing some of the problems in the world and in Nadiyah’s black community. Lastly, Isaiah Nwokeuku shared some of his writing from his own book called ‘Stand.’ The poem was about Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner who didn’t recognize himself as a slave owner, but as someone who is anti-slavery. The poem is in the perspective of Frederick Douglass.   

The audience had a moment to ask questions or make any comments. There were many comments made about being proud of the class for taking time to write and be so vulnerable with their readers. North Point’s principal, Mr. Daniel Kaple, asked the class about the process of receiving and giving constructive criticism for art since it’s more subjective than a work e-mail. JD Russell said, “Me and Vondel Butler co-wrote a poem together and we both had our ideas on how we wanted the poem to start. We took both of our ideas and looked for which one fit better. We used ideas and were accepting of any revisions and critiques made by others. There is still something good in every poem.” Isaiah Nwokeuku added, “Revisions go way longer than one poem. Just because you got a revision on one poem, doesn’t mean you can’t use that advice on something else.” Nadiyah Vaughan topped off the discussion by saying, “I draw the line when [the poem] stops being the message that I want to convey. You can make revisions and if they change what I want to say, I can’t put the revisions in. Poetry is for others, but it is also for you to express what you feel and what you want.” 

After the questions were over, there was a drawing for students who entered the poetry contest to win a copy of the poetry book as well as some other goodies. The winner was Emily Wells. After this, the signing portion of the event began. Guests were also given free bookmarks with quotes from the poetry book.