The mission of the Greenleaves Literary Review, a student organization, is “to produce an annual student-run literary magazine that fosters creativity and encourages teamwork, and to host literary events throughout the year that shine a light on the power of language and literature.”
The 2023 issue of the literary magazine is a culmination of a year’s work by a dedicated staff supported by faculty sponsor and Upper School English Teacher Dr. Julia Hansen ’01. The 113-page publication, printed in hard copy once again, is bursting at the seams with short stories and poems, and features student art in the forms of photographs, watercolors, mixed media, acrylic, alcohol marker, charcoal, and graphite. Please click here to read a digital copy.
Alice Ma ’23 and Sonia Oulamine ’24 served as Greenleaves co-heads for 2022-2023. The editorial staff included Shivani Devrapally ’24, Haya Hussain ’24, and Chloe Cheng ’23. They distributed Greenleaves to students, faculty, and staff after an Upper School assembly last week.
In addition to the printed magazine, the staff of Greenleaves worked on a unique art project that promotes poetry. Together, they constructed a “poetree,” or a tree of poetry.
“We started it in the spring of 2022. The idea was that it could be a kind of poetry tree—a poetree—that had all kinds of poems in it and encouraged students and others to pursue/ read poetry,” said Devrapally.
“We wanted to create a space where the school could interact with poetry on a daily basis and since we are ‘Greenleaves‘ we wanted to have something nature-inspired,” said Oulamine. “Some thinking later, the poetree was born. It started as a wooden 2×4 that was covered in layers of paper mache and then painted like a birch tree. Then, using colored paper, the body of the leaves was made. Personally, I love the final result.”
“When I joined Greenleaves, the tree was built, but couldn’t stand,” said Mona Ragone ’24, who helped “plant” the poetree. “During the beginning of this school year, we spent a Friday after school setting the tree in concrete. After that, we found and bought some second-hand poetry books to decorate the base with. We wanted to give the illusion that the tree was growing out of a stack of books. I love the way the tree looks now, and I think there are still plenty of ideas we can employ to make it even better.”
Cheng said, “I had so much fun making the poetry tree, and I am so proud of everyone and all the work they put in! The collaboration is amazing and the support is wonderful.”
Working together throughout the year meant that the Greenleaves team grew closer to one another while they worked on their own written and artistic projects and gathered those from others.
“I can confidently say that the best part of Greenleaves is the people,” said Devrapally. “Our Tuesday morning meetings are so fun, and I love getting to know everyone better, working on our Poetree, and putting the issue together. This year our new website made receiving submissions an easier process, despite some technical difficulties.”
“Two of my favorite pieces are Life if Math Didn’t Exist by Angelina Shen ’24 and Two Victims for a Piece of Clarity by Alice Ma ’23,” said Devrapally. “They are both beautiful works that I love. Putting together the issue is time-consuming, but it is definitely worth it in the end; getting to see the finished product is an incredible moment.”
“The best part of working on Greenleaves was definitely getting to work with other people’s pieces. The trust our peers give us when they share their stories, art, and more is really valuable and makes the process worthwhile. It allows us to get to know the student body better—the range within people’s work is so impressive, and everyone tackles different issues in different ways using their mediums,” said Hussain.
“One of the challenges we faced was spreading the word about it and allocating work,” she continued. “Literary and art publication is a small niche, so not everyone has something to submit or is comfortable to submit. We really had to think of out-of-the-box ideas to spread the word and engage the student body. This year, we put a lot of effort into making an email subscription list, organizing this community time print distribution, and the poetree to reach out to people and keep them updated.”
“I would like to let other people know that we absolutely love reading our peers’ work,” said Hussain. “It is so exciting and opens a whole new dimension regarding other people’s personalities and interests.”
Congratulations to the editors and staff of Greenleaves Literary Review. You have certainly fulfilled your mission this year, bringing the power of the written word to your classmates and teachers.