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Lise's Lens: September 28, 2023

This week I am reading Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake, listening to a poem by the late Libyan writer Mustafa al-Trabelsi, and getting excited for Fall Family Weekend!

  • I just started Tom Lake, a novel by Ann Patchett. I am only one third into the novel and I’m really hoping it will hook me like Bel Canto did. I LOVED that novel… I won’t give away too much but there is intrigue and politics among other things. It was my introduction to Patchett and it was amazing. I tried to find that feeling in another one of her books, Commonwealth, but alas, that didn’t happen. Here’s hoping I get hooked into Tom Lake!
  • Following the isolation of the COVID pandemic, I don’t think I’ll ever take in-person gatherings for granted again. It has been years since parents and guardians have been able to come to campus to sit in on a school day and peek in at classes, and I am so excited that you will once again be able to do so at our upcoming Fall Family Weekend. This weekend will allow us all to come together to participate in and witness some of the important ways our students and adult communities engage with each other on a regular basis, through classes, athletics, community outreach, etc. I am proud of the group of CSW staff members that came together to propose this weekend, and I speak on behalf of all of our faculty and staff when I say that we are very excited to open up our campus to you.

  • I am listening to Libyan writer Khaled Mattawa read a poem by Mustafa al-Trabelsi in its original Arabic and translated English. Mustafa al-Trabelsi was a Libyan poet who used his work to warn leaders in the city of Derna about two dams he believed were in danger of collapsing. Earlier this month, those two dams did indeed collapse, killing al-Trabelsi and thousands of others. The poem is both beautiful and heartbreaking. He talks about how, often, in poems from the Middle East, rain is a blessing as it is quite a rare occurrence. However, in this poem, the rain reveals the corruption and ills of the Libyan government. It is at once a poem about the fragile environment and a poem of activism, where the human conscience is alive. You can hear Mattawa’s reading of the poem and his interview on NPR with Leyla Fadel here. I am always in awe of those who can masterfully translate poetry… it seems so daunting a task to me…
This week is our annual spirit week, where we show our enthusiasm for CSW by dressing according to fun themes. Tuesday was Barbieland day, and campus was a sea of bright pink! You couldn’t help but smile as you walked around and saw everyone in their carefully curated outfits.


The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.