Poets Organize Halloween-Inspired Event to Recruit Members

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Corrina Winkler

Poetry club co-president Jordan Ginestra performs an original piece at the Halloween Poetry Slam.

Marian Steinmann, staff writer

With many students staying home and others attempting to lower exposure time at school, clubs have been struggling to stay afloat.

“Our club is dying,” said senior Sondra Scoggin, co-president of poetry club. “A lot of us are seniors and if we don’t try really hard this year to get some new members, we won’t be here next year.”

Scoggin has been in poetry club since her sophomore year, and after seeing a decline in membership this year, she knew she had to do something to draw new students in.

“I came up with the idea to have a Halloween Slam,” she said.

Scoggin collaborated with seniors Jordan Ginestra and Abi Zajac, the other two co-presidents of the club, to bring the event to life.

“It took a lot,” Ginestra said. “We had to change the dates three separate times…but we’re happy that it all ended up good in the end.”

They planned for the Halloween Slam to take place Monday and Tuesday in the courtyard, but stormy weather forced everyone into the commons instead. Other than a cloudy sky, the event went smoothly, the officers said.

After Kirk Schlueter, English teacher and sponsor of poetry club, gave an introduction, each of the officers performed a short poem of their own composition, and the event began. It was an open mic, meaning students took turns coming to the podium at their own pace, which naturally caused some prolonged silences as students worked up the courage to leave their seats.

“I think that’s a normal thing for a poetry slam, though,” Zajac said. “You have to have that waiting period, and it’s that silence that urges people to go up there.”

Unlike some of poetry club’s events in the past, the Halloween Slam was not a competition. The presidents felt that a competitive environment would add too much pressure and prevent some students from participating and potentially realizing they enjoy poetry.

“If I didn’t have [poetry] my freshman year, I would’ve never found my voice,” Ginestra said.

Each co-president joined poetry club after attending one of the slams, and they were eager to create that opportunity for others.

Scoggin explained that poetry club isn’t just about the school-wide poetry events: the club actually meets once a week to share their love for poetry with one another.

“We settle on a topic or theme, and then we create our own poetry and read it to the people at the meeting to get feedback and constructive criticism,” Scoggin said.

Ginestra hopes that the slam will have drawn in some new members and that eventually the group will be able to meet in person again.

“There’s a sort of family atmosphere to [poetry club], Ginestra said. “I think a lot of people are hesitant… because they don’t think of themselves as good at poetry, but they need to understand that this is going to help mature their writing.”

The presidents emphasized that poetry club is whatever you want it to be, and its ambiguity allows for everyone to find enjoyment in it.

“You grow as a person as well as a writer,” Scoggin said. “You’re always maturing and exploring new ways to write. There’s so many different styles, and you just have to find the one that clicks.”