For my zenith project, I want to create a poetry anthology of all my poetry work. This particular project is a passion for me since I love to write poetry and it would mean a lot to leave high school with a book nicely containing everything I’ve written while here. I envision my final media form to be a printed book with poetry and illustrations inside.
This project is a new risk since I’m not following an outline like I had last year for my documentary book. Instead, I’m creating what I want my book to look like from scratch. Also, this project is a challenge since it forces me to write a lot of poetry which takes me a long time to do.
In my production class, I hope to use Adobe Indesign for the layout of the book and will use Adobe Illustrator and Corel Painter for the basic illustrations which will accompany the poetry.
My love for poetry was sparked in the eighth grade when I was asked to write a poem about where I’m from. Since then, I’ve looked forward to each poetry unit in my English classes and collaborating with fellow Los Altos High School slam poetry team members each year. With poetry having been such a key part of my high school experience, it was easy for me to decide earlier on to create a poetry anthology –a collection of poems– for my zenith project. The research paper I wrote in English class corresponded not to the entirety of my poetry book, but to a single poem which touched on race relations and the Black experience in America. Instead of trying to write about such a broad topic, I focused on the issue of cultural appropriation with emphasis on the African American community. While I gained new and insightful information during the process of writing this paper, I was not dissuaded from continuing with my initial idea of a poetry anthology featuring several works of different subject matter.
I was excited to write more poetry, especially considering the fact that the zenith was taking place around the same time as the Unified District Poetry Slam, which LAHS’s slam team enters each year. This competition and the possibility of winning served as an added incentive to write the best poetry that I could.
Throughout the design process of this project, I relied on my peers in my elective class for support and constantly asked them for possible suggestions or revisions I could implement to my book layout. My desk table partner, Kyra, acted as a huge aid and comforter to me for the duration of the zenith project. Our daily collaboration with each other fueled us to push on, and produce the best work that we could.
For the graphical aspects of my book, I was inspired by an artist who used interesting scanning techniques within a magazine. The way the artist displayed the scanned images emulated a unique sense of tangibility which I wanted to re-create for my pieces. I was also inspired by the simplistic illustrations Rupi Kaur utilized in her poetry anthology, Milk and honey. Having such easy to understand images placed directly beside her illuminating poetry allowed her words to truly speak for themselves.
The biggest problem I ran into that I didn’t account for when creating my zenith calendar, was the writing process being very long. I thought that if I worked on writing the poems and creating their corresponding illustrations simultaneously, I could easily lose track of time and become unable to reach my intended goal. Thus, it was easier to just complete writing first, then spend all my time working on the art. However, due to my writing process taking longer than expected, I was unable to create a digital aspect of my initial plan for my project. While this was a bit saddening, I made up for what was lost with more poems which I ended up being really proud of.
If I did this project over, I would make it more of a priority to complete the digital parts I wanted to accompany my book in order for an interactive component to exist within my overall project. I believe the 21st Century Skill I improved upon most was creativity since I not only wrote the poems myself, which each have personal value to me, but I also created the designs throughout the book myself. I tried my best to add variety to the poetry composition and illustration art, and I’m proud of the results! The 21st Century Skill I improved upon least would probably be visual literacy since my project media is singular and I did not explore new uses of technology to communicate my message to the public.
This project taught me to accommodate to new situations, especially ones I didn’t excpect. Sometimes in life, things don’t always work out the way you hope they will, and you simply must learn to find a way to work around new roadblocks introduced to you.
I am confident that I elevated my skills and experiences in poetry and graphic design. Looking back at poems I’ve written in past years, I can tell that my writing has matured and developed as well as my stance on issues and prevalent topics in my life. Also, the graphic design elements I used in my documentary book last year seem elementary as compared to that of my poetry anthology.
My zenith project changed the way I look at poetry and how what you write is just as much for other people as it is for you. Others may not have experienced the same stories I shared through the poems I wrote, yet the surprising amount of readers who’ve read my personal poems so far and have expressed feelings of either sympathy or general resonance shows me that my words have power beyond the pages they are written on. It is this special phenomenon that inspires me to continue to write poetry – for myself, and others.