‘When people say my name I look up.’ What’s In A Name?

‘I celebrate and sing myself…’-Walt Whitman

Students explored names through a series of prompts which began with a reading of’ Name That Means Holy in Greek’ by Kim Addonizio. What occurs in the naming of someone or something? How does it sound when spoken? How does it feel to be announced or announce someone by their name? Who speaks the name like you do?

‘…the name a person bears through life is something [they] must carry, and it is sometimes the only thing others have to judge you by before they meet you. Your name travels ahead of you like a portent of things to come, a thing from which others make assumptions about people.’-Tim Lockwood, Writer.

Lesson Note: Addonizio once told the publication  Contemporary Authors: “Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge, as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.”


Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period 1

Zoe H.

I guess there is no need
For there to be a hassel for a name
When you can just be Zoe
Spelled with three letters just like tea
Which is held in a delicate cup?
and spells bitter sweet

My name is not solo.
It is the cheese to the cracker.
In order for my name to be
My twin brother needed a name
That would end in a salty and savory result.

My name is a iece of wood
Painted green with lilies nailed on
Sometimes the nails fall off
But my name means life
And new ones will again begin to sprout.

My Name
Sophia K.

Wise, intelligent
Words I am told
Suit me

I feel it is gentle
Made out of water
You have to do a lot to make the word a typhoon

The water is purple
Elegant, rich
Graceful to a fault
It makes the name hideous if you spit it out

The name makes me lose
A very precious thing
I share it with so many
That it is a reduntant taste

But it is still special
It is still a great name to me

Olivia H.

The name is common
it used to make me believe that it meant that I too
was common.
Olivia means olive tree matching the calm sway
of the nature within me.
I was named after nobody, no specific or
interesting origin;
nothing to make me special.
Sometimes I am called Liv or Livvy.
My grandma calls me Livvy.
My friends at school call me Liv.
My mom calls me any nickname that pops into her
head in the moment;
I don’t mind, I don’t really have a preferecne for
what I am called.
But when he says my name,
I feel  it is the most interesting name in the
My name rolls off his tongue so smooth like
honey dripoping in the morning dawn.
‘Olivia’ as a lonsome purple flower drifitng in the
breeze, twirling in circles as a weighless
When he says my name,
it makes me feel like I am the only Oliva in
the world.

Mr. Telles, 9th Grade
Period 5

Melissa G.

When people say my name I look up
In Spanish my name flows
Smoothly, sweetly
almost like honey
In English my name sounds
Clunky, Foreign, like it’s trying to belong, but can’t quite get there.
When my mom says my name
I feel like coming home
5 syllables, 7 letters
5 syllables, 13 letters

My Name
Vlad S.

I announce myself as Vlad
I don’t like my full name
It’s too long
Hard to understand
Just too many letters
I would change my name
Something simpler
I’m not sure to what
Somehing like Jake
My name reminds me of vampires
Which also brings blood & murder
Which I don’t like
Which is my name
So I don’t like it
Or the color red

Valerie N.

All for belonging to the same person
All derived from the same name
That is Latin in origin
Menaing to be strong, healthy

The story goes I was meant to be Lailani
A name my mother liked
But my father said it would be butchered by the American
tongue, for it is meant to be said in Spanish
Valerie can turn into Valeria, making it easier for our
Mexican tounges to say
I like my name in this form
It sounds softer, gentler, prettier
Valerie is pretty too but it doesn’t have that soft ‘a’ at the end

Val or Vale
Depending on the speaker
Are the other names I am called
I don’t really like either but if I had to choose, it would be Vale
My abuela calls me that so whenever it is spoken, I think
of summer days spent outside eating and playing
Whereas Val sounds hard, almost cold
I hear it so often though it’s normal,
but it makes me a little sad because I don’t know if
they even know my real name

Aline V.

a name often pronounced incorrect.
Eileen, A-line, Alone, I don’t know.
This name which my father chose
for me after debating names
with my mother.

Short. Five letter name
a simple name
a name after a beautiful
french song. Aline.
This name in which I can never
find a key chain for.

Bearer of light.
Yellow ray of sun.
Noble one.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.