English Teacher Mehnaz Sahibzada Publishes Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat
Upper school English teacher Mehnaz Sahibzada has published her second book of poetry, Summer Forgets to Wear a Petticoat (Finishing Line Press). Her first poetry volume, Tongue-Tied: A Memoir in Poems, was published in 2012. Mehnaz’ work has also been featured in Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, which Los Angeles Times Book Critic David Ulin included in his Top 10 Books of 2015. Mehnaz is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry.
Mehnaz began writing poetry as a child and draws on her lifetime of experiences as a poet in teaching her students at New Roads. She says, “The act of writing poetry has impacted my teaching in numerous ways – and vice versa. One might argue that poetry isn't just a genre of writing but a way of looking at the world – philosophically and aesthetically. Poetry, like photography, resists a narrative understanding of reality. By peering intently into a moment, a poem embraces the fragmentary and passing nature of existence. As a poet-teacher, I find it important to create spaces for students to write imaginatively by exposing them to the art of alchemy and word play – values I feel encourage independence, empathy and beautiful thinking. Conversely, teaching poetry in my classes, where students have resisted poems that might seem too abstract or self-referential, has affected my own writing, reminding me that while poetry occupies a margin within a margin, it's helpful to edit poems while considering one's audience. Consequently, I've become more mindful of revising my work with the readers' needs in mind.”
Mehnaz’s next project is a collection of poems inspired by the Gothic Romantic mood, or as Mehnaz’s explains, “Think Frankenstein meets Friday the 13th or Jane Eyre meets Jason.”
New Roads School is a college preparatory K-12 private independent school in Santa Monica, CA, serving over 514 school age children from the greater Los Angeles area. New Roads School provides an inspired educational program from which an authentically diverse student population, mirroring the rich diversity of Los Angeles, develops a personal dedication to learning, a respect for independent thinking, and an expanding curiosity about the world and its people.