Alumni Feature: ‘Tales of the Unreadable’
Malaika Campbell, a BWS alumnus, recently published a book of poetry. We interviewed her to learn more!
Checking in with Brooklyn Waldorf School Alumni
Founded in 2005, the Brooklyn Waldorf School is a fairly new educational institution. The oldest alumni are just now graduating from or going off to college. It’s a wonderful gift to hear what BWS graduates are up to – whether they’re navigating their first year of high school, deciding what to major in, or pursuing their passions.
BWS’s Newest Alumni Author
We recently caught up with Malaika Campbell (she/they), Class of 2020, who just published a book of poetry in June. Called Tales of the Unreadable, she self-published the book on Amazon as an independent project for school. She is currently in 11th grade at The Winchendon School satellite campus in New York City. At such a young age Malaika has already accomplished a great deal. Although she is a very busy high schooler, Malaika graciously took a few minutes to sit down with us and talk about her experience with Waldorf education and the process of writing and publishing her collection of original poems.
Interview with Malaika
- How many years did you spend at BWS?
I was at the Brooklyn Waldorf School from 5th to 8th grade. We were introduced to the school when my dad started holding basketball training sessions in the Claver Castle gym. (BWS Community Basketball)
- What was your favorite part or memory about BWS?
I really liked the environment which gave me time to reflect on myself. I didn’t have the space or time to do that at my previous school. At the Brooklyn Waldorf School, teachers and peers allow you to be your genuine self.
- What inspires your poetry?
The emotions that come from my day-to-day experiences inspire my poetry. I use poetry as an emotional release. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I write. There are some poems I’ve written about other topics; for instance the first poem in the book is about my parents.
- When did you begin writing poetry?
I started writing poetry during my time at BWS. When we were given the option to draw or write, I chose poetry since art was not my natural preference. Since then, I’ve taken journalism classes in high school but I still prefer writing poetry.
- How did you get the idea to publish a book?
My dad gave me the idea. He saw all my poems and said “You could write a whole book with this!”. I had to complete an independent project for school and thought, “I could do this.”
- Where does the title Tales of the Unreadable come from?
I’m a big fan of fiction (or tales) and each poem represents an emotion – and emotions are typically difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to read.
- Where does the cover art come from?
I created the cover during art class. It was abstract, so it worked with the overall theme and message.
- What about Waldorf education do you value or resonate with most?
I value learning the skills that are at the forefront of Waldorf education the most. Waldorf schools have subjects that are difficult to find in other educational institutions, such as orchestra, chorus, handwork, languages, Eurythmy. A lot of the school day is dedicated to these subjects, rather than only being electives. I also appreciated coming to high school and feeling like I was well prepared, especially in math class.
Publishing a book is a wonderful accomplishment! We look forward to hearing from and showcasing other Brooklyn Waldorf School alumni who are pursuing their unique interests and finding what brings them joy. It is our hope that their time at BWS allowed them to flourish and learn more about who they are and want to be. Thank you Malaika, for taking the time to speak with us and we wish you the very best in your future endeavors!