The Renaissance

Kellenberg Memorial's Literary Magazine

An important extra facet of the academic life at Kellenberg Memorial is the arts and literature publication The Renaissance.

A hybrid print/online publication, The Renaissance features  student arts and literature submissions online every Friday. In addition, a print issue of selected works is produced each spring. The Renaissance contains the creative writings and artistic talents of students from grades six through twelve.

The creative voice heard in poems, short stories, essays, and art is often unheard in the students’ day-to-day work within the classroom. The Renaissance provides the opportunity to express those voices.

The Renaissance: Men and Women Standing Proud and The Beauty in Imperfection

Above:
Men and Women Standing Proud
By Luka Pierre-Louis ’22

 

Below:
The Beauty in Imperfection
Katelin Lopez ’25

I have always strived for perfection. That’s what the goal was to my mind… perfection. Recently, I’ve realized that this goal is irrational, quite impossible, and just a waste of my time. Now don’t get me wrong, I will probably always be a little bit of a perfectionist, because it’s just been a part of me for so long that it will be hard to kick that mindset. Also, the perfectionist mindset has gotten me to achieve incredible things such as getting good grades and being a pretty decent artist. But this mindset has a dark side. I often only see my negative qualities, and imperfections. For example I am so nit-picky when it comes to my art, my grades, and organization. I can’t get any joy out of a 99 on a test; I just feel inadequate, and think “what’s so wrong with me that I couldn’t get a perfect score?”

I often get caught up on little imperfections and never really see any beauty in them. However, art has begun to show me how to embrace my mistakes. I owe a lot of that to my twin brother. He is an artist as well, with a very different style compared to mine, but I’m still able to implement some of the ways he goes about his art process into my own. His art can be interpreted in many ways, whereas with mine it’s very clear what’s going on. In some cases, yes, that’s good, but it often gives my work a restrictive feeling. About two months ago, my brother painted a man with strokes of variations of gray and splatters of red, blue, and yellow behind him. He wore a white shirt with a criss cross pattern, and what looked like a straw hat with the same pattern. The man almost pops out of the page since he’s outlined in this stark black and in some areas it would bleed into a dark gray, while his skin is all white except for splashes of rosy pink on his cheeks. His eyes are looking to the side as if he’s worried something is going to happen, his nose is a little crooked, and his mouth is not quite a smile or a frown. The background is chaotic but simple. The color of his rosy cheeks makes me feel like the man is about to burst from the anxiety he’s trying to contain. Meanwhile, my older brother just saw a man with a messy background.

My twin works a lot with ink, so it’s easy to make mistakes, but he just rolls with them and makes them seem purposeful. With me if the eye is wonky, even by a little bit, there is the urge to want to erase both of the eyes and try over and over again until they look right. Sometimes it feels as if the painting is never truly done, because even days after it’s “finished,” I still go back and fix some mistakes. Some of my favorite pieces of his art have “mistakes,” like the painting of the farmer. He doesn’t think too much about his next stroke and just goes with wherever the ink takes him. With my art, I have an entire plan. First, I create a bunch of little thumbnails just to get ideas down. Then, I sketch my idea on a larger scale. Once that is done I have to transfer it onto the canvas, and then I put an underpainting. Finally after all of that the actual painting can begin. My process is very time consuming. My twin just gets an idea, searches for a reference photo, looks at it twice, sketches, and starts painting. However, with ink he just goes straight into it. He’s literally going with the flow. That’s what makes his art so wonderful and fun to look at. When you look at his work you can always find something you didn’t see before. I want to “go with the flow” in my own art, but also in my life.

Through my brother’s art I’m able to find the beauty of imperfections in myself, the world, and my work. Before, I hated looking at my mistakes because I would just dwell on them or want to start a drawing all over again. Now I have a different perspective on what it means for something to be beautiful. It’s those wrinkles around someone’s eyes when they smile, the discoloration around the eyes, the bags under someone’s eyes, and the scars on a person’s face that makes someone beautiful. Art has allowed me to accept those imperfections within myself and my art.

The Renaissance: Haunted House (Poem) and Evil Eyes (Artwork)

Above: “Evil Eyes” by Samantha Nobles ’22

Below: “Haunted House” by Nathaniel Denzler ’22

I am not one to believe in the supernatural or the paranormal. Usually people talk about that stuff and I just look away and roll my eyes. However, there is one time in my life where I questioned that belief. My middle school bus stop was right in front of what appeared to be an abandoned house. No one lived there, from what most people could tell. It seemed that there definitely wasn’t anyone living there. Despite this, though, occasionally the light would turn on in the house, even though it probably would have been long broken by that point. I would stand at my bus stop alone, and sometimes hear a creaky door open or some pebbles rolling on the ground. On Halloween one October, a few of my friends wanted to go and explore the haunted house. They went on their own, because I was too scared to go. What they said they saw shocked me. There was an old lady sitting on a rocking chair reading a book. When they saw her, she hissed at them, and a bunch of bricks and tiles on the house started falling to the ground. They ran and didn’t look back. The house collapsed completely a few days later. Now, someone new owns that property with a new house. My sister is actually friends with someone who lives in that house. I’ve been in the new house, and every time I’ve been in there I get chills, wondering if the ghost of the abandoned house will someday come for me.

The Renaissance: Blue (Poem) and Lily Pads (Artwork)

Above: “Lily Pads” by Lindsey Rubenstein ’24

Below: “Blue” by Audrey Sasso ’25

Blue like the ocean that can show such might;
Blue like the midday sky: clear, calm and bright;
Blue like blueberries: sweet and always a delight;
Blue like sapphires, a jewel sparkling in moonlight;
Blue like robin eggs, a treasure yet almost never in sight;
Blue like damson plums, sour but still tempting to bite;
Blue like blue jays chirping a song quiet and light;
Blue like the thought of sadness when your tears fall white.

The Renaissance: Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue
By Samantha Nobles ’22

“How do you describe the color blue?”
By Grace Wilson ’23

Blue is known to evoke melancholy. Yet I find no sadness in it.
Blue extends beyond rainy days and Mondays; goodbyes and endings.
It is your first breath, welcoming, vulnerable.
Driving open-roaded, rolled-down windows, volume full of music,
Free and uninhibited.
Blue is an evening twilight
When the cerulean sky dissolves into a midnight hue.
It is the silent hour of the indigo night,
When I am awake while the rest of the world is asleep.
It is that moment when the sun looms through a cloudy day
And I feel the warmth of its rays on my neck to my knees,
From my teeth to my tongue. To my lungs.
Blue is a loyal friend to whom I shout, “Hello!”
And who assures me that everything will be alright.
Don’t you see? Blue isn’t always rooted in perpetual gloom.
It is a color overflowing with wonder and hope.

The Renaissance: White Sun (Prose) & Desert Sunflowers (Painting)

Desert Sunflowers by Katelin Lopez ’25

White Sun by Chikamso Agina ’22

In the month of her birth, the sun hides behind clouds of ash, like it’s afraid of the rain and how it pours and of the screeching thunder that chases after bolts of lightning, striking the rumbling earth. Of course, this can’t be any further than the truth. Somehow, within the midst of a tempest, it almost seems afraid of her. She treads the paths of the universe so carefully and sparingly as the child of stars and comets, favored by Hephastus and Athena who bestow upon her the golden laced gift of artful wisdom, but in the wake of Jupiter, ruler of storm and rain, she finds herself afraid. Her body falls weak, draped with the translucent cloak of fear towards her slowly depleting youth. Something within her begins to stir.

She finds herself scrambling for paint, hurriedly mixing and spewing it against her palms so that as the rain pours, she can pour all that she feels against the porcelain pillars of her home. It doesn’t take long for vibrant colors to be spilled against the floors or for her hands to be stained with marmalade and scraping against stone. To be lost in her own craft– eyes, and mind blurred with indigo and sage while the only thing she can seem to wrap her brain around is the very fact that she is on the brink of losing the remnants of her adolescence as the day of her birth is drawing near (tormented with the desire to never grow old, to chase after the fading age of seventeen). She doesn’t even notice how her tongue begins to burn with the bitterness of rotten cherries and melted stars as the tips of her fingers flush red. She’s rubbing into stone with lavender all whilst aching for the comfort of white sunshine. Her knuckles begin to bruise.

From porcelain pillars to stone canvases of sage and marmalade, arraying milky moons and yellow suns that beam down upon villages of mice who nibble on indigo mushrooms and magenta puffs of dandelion. It’s something made of dreams. Her breathing, which had grown heavy, begins to calm once she notices that every single one of her twelve pillars has lost its pristine whiteness, now cursed with her panicked passion. With patches of dried paint scattered across her body, she slumps to the floor, fatigue washing over her as her eyes remain fixed upon her creation. Her back hits the wall, the clouds outside spread apart, and the raindrops cease for the first time in days.

Warm sunshine falls upon her figure like petals against skin, and her lips tear apart into a smile that turns her eyes into crescents while her heart swells with pride. With the world as her canvas and the sun as her muse, her worries of youth are nothing more but rivers of paint against stone.

The Renaissance: My Greek Orthodox Easter / Photo of Nature

My Greek Orthodox Easter by Aryetta Koutsogiannis ’23

Growing up Greek Orthodox, my mother often stressed the importance of Lent. She believed that we can strengthen our relationship with God through fasting. Maybe I was too young to truly see how this could be, but as the time passes, you stray away from the path. Lent helps us to get back onto that path. In Orthodoxy, we fast for 40 days from meat and dairy, starting on the first day of Lent. It is only until the clock hits 12:00 on Easter morning that we can indulge in that which we restricted ourselves from, especially lamb.

An Easter tradition in my family is going to my grandmother’s house late at night. We wait there until around 11:45 and then walk to the church right around the corner from her
house. With us, we bring our ”lambadas,” a Greek term for a candle gifted to you from your godfather and godmother. As 12:00 strikes, the priests chant “Christ Has Risen” (in Greek, of course), and the people recite back, “Truly He Has Risen,” all while passing around the “fos” or “light” from candle to candle. When we get back to her house, my grandmother has lamb stew ready. My family and I then enjoy a late-night meal, finally breaking our fasts together.

Photo of Nature by Emma Hutzel ’23

Renaissance Hosts Poetry Read-Around

Article by Phoenix writer Lauren DeRiggi ’24:

On Friday, March 18th, Kellenberg’s Renaissance hosted a poetry read-around. The Renaissance is Kellenberg’s Literary magazine where students have the opportunity to express their creativity through prose, short stories, artwork, and essays. The read-around consisted of students in grades 6-12 reading works from their favorite poets, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heany, and Walt Whitman. They also discussed the literary elements in each poem and how they can apply it to their own writings.

Grace Wilson ‘23 says, “I went to the Renaissance poetry read around because it seemed like it would be interesting, and I thought it would help me with my own writing. In the future, I’m hoping that more people attend because I definitely found it to be an enlightening experience.”

The Renaissance’s poetry read-around was a great opportunity for students to share their favorite poems and learn about the literary elements within them.

The Faults of Man

Artwork by Angelina Scalice ’23

Poem by William Hegarty ’23

The pounding sound of dread in my head,
The dumbfounded counting of hours, the dazzling showers,
Flying like sand in the wind through the sky.
Trying and failing with all of our lies,
We’ll never reach the promised land while
Sinning and watching with bystander’s eyes.
Repent, or you’ll be damned,
With your sins, you will be slammed.
This, men do not understand as they fly
through the gates of Hell and land in regret,
staring at the red sky of the damned forever.