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 led by Sasha Wizelman, Senior in Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), and Ren Green, Senior in Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA).
“The Poetry Club is a safe and relaxed space for writers to be inspired and creative,” Wizelman and Green wrote on an Instagram post for the BHS Poetry Club Instagram account.
The club was originally called the Spoken Word Club and was established in 2017. It was later taken over by Wizelman and Green and became the Poetry Club.
When Wizelman took over the club in 2020, the pandemic forced her to think outside the box. The club gathered on Zoom over lunch and shared poetry and creativity virtually for months.
Poetry can be therapeutic for people, and the Poetry Club is a safe space for students to break through their trauma. The club is small and the presidents ensure that everyone in the club can share personal poetry in a safe environment.
“It’s such a good treatment space, especially for trauma. I know a lot of people come in and share poems about their trauma, and it’s a good way to express your feelings artistically, ”said Julia Segre, Poetry Club member and freshman at BHS.
At the start of club meetings, the group will move the tables to form a circle, creating a welcoming space. Everyone will be able to share their poetry or poetry that they have found and appreciated. The group discusses the poems and comments on the strengths of the writer. The chairs can then propose a prompt, and the group will each write something about that prompt. All of the writers in the club can then share what they wrote for the guest.
“You can take something really hard and turn it into something beautiful,” Wizelman said.
Being part of the Poetry Club is a way for students to express themselves by writing poetry and a way to form a community with like-minded people. Club members can 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,” Segre said.
“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 time at C-308.