Joey Krebs / Courier Student members of Poet Writes Society, a club at Pasadena City College.
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Whether a brief turn of phrase to describe a scene, to express a sentiment or a free-thinking written brainstorm there is now a place at PCC for creative people to share and develop a love of poetry.

The Poet Writes Society, one of PCC’s new student clubs, began as an idea shared by two people who did not know each other just a few short months ago.

“We met here in the Writing Center,” said Baylie Raddon, one of the Writing Support Center tutors. “I’ve been tutoring about two months.”

Raddon’s love of poetry goes back several years.

“The emphasis and the rhythm is really what draws me to it,” Raddon said. “I think it portrays emotion in an abstract way, a lot of the time.”

The effect of poetry speaks to Esther Liew, a Writing Support Center tutor of five months.

“Poetry could be anything, as long as it makes the readers feel something,” Liew said. “I think that’s poetry.”

Liew and Raddon, as a team, are very enthusiastic about poetry. When asked to formulate an impromptu haiku on the spot, they delivered.

“Poetry is fun,

I like it in large amounts,

Please join our new club,” said Raddon.

Creativity, along with insight, emotion, and personal introspection, forms the heart of poetry. Newcomers may, at first, seem cautious.

“Yes, it is intimidating, but I think it’s also because nobody tells us where to begin, where to start,” Liew said. “That’s why, I think, we were so down to have this club … building community or starting a club would really encourage that.”

Whether with a community or alone with one’s own thoughts, poetry can lead anywhere.

“I think just once you get into the flow of it, and don’t give yourself so many restrictions in the beginning, you’ll be able open yourself up more, broaden your horizons,” Raddon said, with a smile. “Then a lot of it is breaking through that emotional wall that you’ve built up.”

Poetry, whether written or spoken, is technical form unto itself with structural rules. In its final form, the easily consumable words a reader may see, or that a listener may hear, are actually the result of the rules.

Sestinas, a poem of six stanzas, have a maximum of 39 lines. Pantoums, a poem of four stanzas, have a minimum of 12 lines. Haiku, a poem of three single-line stanzas, has a specific count of syllables in each line; five in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.

All forms of poetry have the author telling a story within a limited number of words. Because of this, the poem’s message and meaning are even more profound. Diversity is vital to the arts. Poetry itself is well-suited to the diverse subject matter found in its content and presentation. Raddon, an English major interested in the workings of the language itself, enjoys the written form. Liew, a communications and humanities major, likes poetry as a spoken medium.

One of the goals of unifying creative forms of expression may be more external, and the Poet Writes Society is fine with that.

Liew is interested in forming a partnership between PCC’s Third Wave Feminist Club and the Poet Writes Society, for a unique opportunity for aspiring poets to share a platform in content and speaking events.  

“At the end of every meeting, we’re planning on having open mic so if somebody wants to perform like that, they are welcome to,” Raddon said.

New members of the club are eager to make contributions.

“It’s more the literature side, not just the poetry,” said Eli Kim, whose specialty is short stories, which he plans to add to the club’s repertoire.

Kim has a unique perspective and wit, combining his Korean heritage in a family of three brothers with distinctly Hebrew first names.

It is just the kind of quirky detail which might evolve into a poem or short story of cultural exchange in our globalized world. Storytelling and writing can emerge differently than an emotional connection to poetry, he explained. Kim relies on observation to find inspiration for some of his stories.

The Poet Writes Society welcomes everyone to attend, participate, learn, and share their message in the wide variety of presentation.

The club holds meetings on Thursdays from 3 – 4 p.m. in C-307.

After a five-year lack of a poetry club on campus, the founders are looking at several ways of developing and promoting the works of their members. They are considering publishing a magazine or anthology as the club evolves and members find their unique voices.

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