Library introduces “Poem In Your Pocket Game”


photo by Matthew Rabinowitz

The “Poem In Your Pocket Game” began Monday, April 8 with 31 middle school students, 35 high school students and eight teachers.

Matthew Rabinowitz, News Editor

CESJDS’ new “Poem In Your Pocket Game,” a variation of the popular game “Assassins,” began today in honor of National Poetry Month and is lead by Assistant Library Media Specialist Mirele Kessous.

“Media centers in the United States and libraries try to come up with programs that raise people’s awareness about poetry, that get them to start writing poems and inspire a love of poetry,” Kessous said. “I think in previous years we’ve done displays, but this year, which is my first year back in some time, we decided to do something more interactive.”

In the contest, Upper School participants are each assigned targets whom they must eliminate by tapping their target with and reciting a poem that they were given before the contest began. After a participant eliminates their target, Kessous assigns them a new one.

Targets have the opportunity to fight back, however; they can say “poem assault” right before they get tapped and will be safe for two hours.

Instead of having a presentation or display like in previous years for National Poetry Month, Kessous wanted something that would both unite the school and spark competition.

“We thought that students would like something that had a competition aspect to it, something that could kind of bring the whole school together, so it involves faculty; it involves middle school; it involves high school,” Kessous said. “And, although you begin with your target in your bracket, eventually everyone is going to mingle together until we get the final winners.”

In an effort to pick poems that were easy to say but notable, Kessous chose shorter poems by Emily Dickinson, Ogden Nash, E.E. Cummings and William Carlos Williams.

Freshman Avigayil Fischman-Charry decided to participate in the competition because of her love of poetry and the competitive component.

“I’ve never done a competition like this before, I thought it would be fun. Also, it’s poetry; I love that, and I’m a really competitive person. Anything that combines competition and poetry is great,” Fischman-Charry said.

After the end of the first day, 17 middle school students, 32 high school students and two teachers remain out of an original 75 participants.

Middle School Tanakh Teacher Rabbi Blatt, one of the two remaining teachers left, decided to participate in the competition because of how different it is from other faculty activities.

“I think it’s a fun, different kind of game than we’re used to playing. We do march madness pools, there’s fantasy football, there are other kinds of social activities that teachers do, but this is different. It’s a game we never get to play,” Blatt said.

Although it is too late for people to sign up, they can still enjoy watching other people struggle to survive in this poetry-themed version of “Assassins.”