Poems in Conversation with the Work of Andrew Moore

For this assignment, Intro to Creative Writing students learn to make metaphors using Andrew Moore’s photograph, Courtyard, former Cass Technical High School building, as inspiration. Through a series of generative-writing questions, students consider the mood and temperature of the image and the political or social situation it feels similar to. Moving from one room to the next in the photograph, students pick up details that invoke the political situation, by the fourth room they need to include the narrative “I,” and by the seventh room, they need to turn the reader’s attention elsewhere. Students are given the option of using the generated material to create a ghazal or sonnet.

-Arisa White, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, Department of English 

Andrew Moore, Courtyard, former Cass Technical High School building, 2008. Archival pigment print, 45 1/2 in. x 54 1/2 in. (115.57 cm x 138.43 cm). Gift of Barbara and Theodore Alfond, 2011.046.

this place. by Anonymous

how many children got left behind in this place?
and now, just forgotten papers lie in this place.

paint peeling, with cabinets both rusted and bent
sprawling shadows always did reside in this place.

i never saw it then, occupied with colors
my kind and i were catered to thrive in this place.

the deafening silence of the long-broken clock
time ran out for too many who tried in this place.

the bureaucratic graffiti that stains the walls
priorities that never emphasized this place.

i wonder how they look at the yearbook pages
the sole proof of their future that died in this place.

how many apaches and nighthawks did they buy?
is public school a fair price to pay in this place?

a nation choked out by ignorance and virus
should i, cole, feel tasked to modify this place?


Graduation Speech by Bevan Fogdall ’24

Burnt out as this collapsing lighting strip,
my busy heart beats away somewhere else—
away from mismatched chairs on which we sit,
from the stopped clock in which I see myself.

I overturn the steel desk in my brain
and awake with my foot drawn back to kick
at the student’s chair tied down in lead chains.
I hold back because ‘gifted’ means I tick.

Or so teachers never fail to mention,
though my dictionary’s entry differs.
The word rakes my skin with false affection,
the scars a reminder to deliver.

I have been bashed in and stuffed to the brim,
a metal locker with no fat left to trim.