Outdoor inspiration for student poets
Students stand with teacher in perkins garden

Landon’s campus served as the muse for Grade 9 students studying and writing their own poetry. The assignment called for boys to grab a pen and paper and get outdoors for some creative inspiration in nature. 

It is called “Jabberwalking,” an activity designed to have students observe the world around them, write down words and phrases, and then put them together in a poem. 

English teacher Tom DiChiara said the project is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “Jabberwocky” . The poem is famous for its use of nonsensical words that, despite being largely unintelligible, set the mood of the poem. 

They also watched a video by Poet Juan Felipe Herrara explaining “Jabberwalking.” The boys learned how to become poets on the move. 

students walk through perkins garden

“We strolled through Miniter Quad, past the majestic and mammoth bear wood carving by the Bradley exit, and into Perkins Garden, which was just hitting its spring stride with blooming azaleas and blossoming flowers. There, the boys grabbed and bench and took in their surroundings,” DiChiara said.  

They were instructed to write down everything they saw using descriptive language, as well as any nonsensical words that came to mind. Afterward, they each took these seemingly unrelated words and phrases and assembled them into a poem that makes—or appears to make—sense. 

The poems had to be at least 10 lines long, in any format, and include imagery and figurative language. 

Student sits on a bench writing poetry

The goal was to hone the boys’ ability to show rather than tell, one of the cornerstones of strong writing. They were challenged to employ imagery, to find beauty—and perhaps meaning—in the natural world around them, and to use their own distinct voice as a writer. 

“The results were vivid, funny, and at times deeply insightful poems that gave me and their classmates a peek behind the curtain and allowed the students—whether they realized it or not—to make their voices heard,” DiChiara said.  

April was National Poetry Month, and teachers also included other activities to inspire creative writing like ‘poetry cafes,’ in which students read poems aloud to each other.  

Students sit on school bus writing poetry


Read Matthew Guo's '25 poem below. 


The Sun is Going to Disappear

Its full of pink, purple, and white flowers

Like a colorful wildfire

With a scent of Florida citrus

Trees waved at us from above

Scattered around, there are white rocks

With a red fire hydrant standing next to one


But the flowers only appear for the spring

And maybe they will eventually die

There trees are covered in scars and vines

The mark of age and wear

Eventually, the paint of the rocks and fire hydrant will wear off


But inside all of this fading beauty

There is chatter

Clinking for forks

Scratching of chairs and chaos

Might be something that will never disappear


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