Spotlight Poet: Anna Stern ’14

Ivy Schneider

Spotlight Editor

Anna Stern ’14, October Spotlight Poet, read aloud a series of her poems and short stories to a group of Milken students and faculty during a lunch period. She focused on specific pieces of writing, such as, “The Fountainfall,” “A House in the Woods,” “A Working Signal,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “I Love You.”

Interestingly enough, Stern had no desire or passion for poetry until she enrolled in Ms. Melody Mansfield’s, Director of Creative Writing, Study of Poetry class.

“I learned that poetry doesn’t have to be boring books with sophisticated language like ‘The Odyssey’ or a Shakespeare play. I learned that poetry is indeed all around us and is really fun to write, especially if it relates to my life,” Stern said. Stern focuses on real world issues in her writing, focussing on the idea of how technology is slowly taking over the world. She points out the ongoing negative side effects of technology and the outcomes of those effects.

“One of my stories is called ‘A Working Signal’ and it is about what would happen in our world if we did everything by technology and didn’t know how to interact verbally and emotionally with one another. I am inspired by realistic and minimalistic fiction,” Stern said.

The author is shining a bright light on the fact that humans should act as their true selves, not “photoshopped” versions that are made to be socially acceptable.

Simplicity is a key factor that Stern has in mind while she is working on a poem or story. She steers away from making descriptions and language too complicated and wordy for her reader to easily understand.

“My writing style is very personable. I want my writing to convey a conversation that I could be having with a person. I also try to make my writing funny, like my role model and inspiration, Tina Fey,” Stern said.

Stern’s audience is the average person. She explains, “The TV watcher, media follower, someone who doesn’t mind thinking about things in a new light.” She is writing for people who need something or someone they can relate to and confide in. “I hope that my poetry defies the norms of regular poetry. I hope that people read my poetry and think that is interesting and ‘cool’ to write because I always thought that poetry had to have a hidden meaning and had to be deep all the time. But it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Stern.

Ms. Melody Mansfield, Faculty Advisor of Writes of Passage, as well Alison Rollman ‘14, Marc Pakravan ‘14, and Lizzy Cohen ’14, Creative Writing Leaders, also presented other poets who shared their work. Such students include: Jake Goldstein ’14, Alison Rollman ’14, Hannah Berookhim ’14, Chanel Peykar ’15, Samara Wolpe ’15, Elliot Gabay ’15, Dakota Rosen ’15, Ethan Sassouni ’15, Gabriel Yashar ’15, Adam Zively ’15, Daniel Levi ’14, Roy Ziv ’15, and Eli Eshagian ’15.

The next spotlight poet, Justin Kroll ’14, will be reading at the upcoming Writes of Passage meeting on Thursday, November 21, during lunch.