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Poetry Club Transforms Trauma Into Art

Poetry Club, a club at Berkeley High School (BHS), strives to create a sanctuary for any student to write and share poetry. It is currently run by Sasha Wizelman, a senior in Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), and Ren Green, a senior in Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA).

“The Poetry Club is a safe, relaxed space for writers to get inspired and creative,” wrote Wizelman and Green on an Instagram post for the BHS Poetry Club Instagram account.

The club was originally called the Spoken Word Club, and was started in 2017. It was then taken over by Wizelman and Green and changed to the Poetry Club.

When Wizelman took over the club in 2020, the pandemic forced her to think outside the box. The club met on Zoom during lunch, and shared poetry and creativity virtually for months.

Poetry can be therapeutic for people, and Poetry Club is a space where students can break down their trauma safely. The club is small, and the presidents make a point to make sure everyone in the club is able to share personal poetry in a secure environment.

“It’s such a good processing space, especially for trauma. I know a lot of people go in and share poems about their trauma, and it’s a good way to get your feelings out in an artistic way,” said Julia Segre, a Poetry Club member and a freshman at BHS.

At the beginning of club meetings, the group will move tables to form a circle, creating a welcoming space. Anyone will be able to share their poetry or poetry they found that they enjoyed. The group discusses the poems and comments on the writer’s strengths. The presidents can then propose a prompt, and the group will each write something relating to that prompt. All writers from the club can then share what they wrote for the prompt.

“You can take something that is really hard, and turn it into something beautiful,” said Wizelman.

Being in Poetry Club is a way for students to express themselves through writing poetry and a way to form a community with people that share the same interests. Club members are able to choose whether or not they want to share their writing, but often feel more comfortable sharing it in a supportive environment.

“You can share whatever you want without feeling judged,” said Segre.

“It’s kind of like my outlet, my therapy, and I think a lot of people can relate to that,” Wizelman said.

The Poetry Club meets every Thursday during lunch period in C-308.

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