Poetry puzzle- picking up the pieces

Poetry puzzle- picking up the pieces

Taylor Lavigne, Writer

What’s the point of poetry? Poetry creates a sense of community, improves students ability to write, express emotion and feelings through the writing.

“Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, and fosters emotional resilience,” According to Edutopia.org. BFA students have been focusing on giving writers the confidence and feedback they need on their writing in a newly founded club, the Poetry Club.

There are classes and clubs that focus on writing in general, but nothing that focuses on poetry specifically.

In previous years, there was a Creative Writer’s Club that began in 2006, but had a three year break. A similar club, the Poetry Club, was resurrected this year by Ben Stoll, (‘18).

The club also branches out to different types of writing like short stories, narratives, etc., but mainly concentrates on poetry. A resource for the students that participate in the club is an organization called Young Writer’s Project.

Young Writer’s Project is a website that revolves around writing and the students use it to share their poems and get feedback on them from other students at BFA or from writers at different schools.

The base of this website is in Burlington, VT but is open to anyone from anywhere. (www.youngwritersproject.org)

“Young Writer’s Project is a place to find and share your voice. It’s a website. It’s a community,” According to the Young Writer’s Project website. The website is all about creating a friendly, respectful environment for writers who want to share their work.

The site makes writers feel welcomed because it’s all about writing and getting their writing out into the world for people to see. It also helps students edit others work to help make them better.

“Young Writer’s Project depends on all users to help maintain this site as a community of respect and creativity,” According to the Young Writer’s Project website.

The welcoming community included with the site is why the club uses it so often. They like to use the challenges and prompts that the website provides.

A BFA Mercury reporter interviewed Stoll, the creator of the new Poetry Club.

“I just wanted to get a club going that focused on writing and creative expression because BFA’s kind of lacking in that,” Stoll said. Stoll’s creation of the club was inspired by his love for writing and other student’s love for writing.

He also noticed that many students had the same love for creative writing and poetry.

Stoll explained the activities the students participate in during the class. It takes place on Monday’s from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Mrs. Bristol’s room. Using prompts given from Young Writer’s Project, participants write for about ten minutes to start each meeting of the club.

“We have a ten minute write to get the creative juices flowing, really cliché but that’s basically what we do,” Stoll said. The ten minute write helps students get into their writing-mode.

From there, students choose whether or not they want to read their work for feedback. The audience is very respectful but also very critical to help make the writer’s work better.

“I believe there is a confidence boost in performing your poems, it’s not required but we recommend that you recite your poem to everyone, just read it out and get some feedback on it,” Stoll said.

Mrs. Bristol is the facilitator of the new club.

Mrs. Bristol was also the facilitator of the Creative Writer’s Club a few years ago, along with Mr. Archambault.

“I think that’s why we paused with the Writer’s Club, because it became something Mr. Archambault and I had to focus around opposed to the students actually wanting to generally write,” Bristol said.

Bristol actually prefers when the students direct the class and do whatever they feel like doing. She also explains that the club is about feedback and letting the students become better writers and better at helping others be their best when it comes to writing.

“We let it be directed by whoever is in attendance. What we usually end up doing is if somebody has a piece that they have drafted or have been working on that they just want really good feedback on with people who are not judgemental of their creative process,” Bristol said.

The Poetry Club at BFA has definitely made writers and poets who have attended feel more welcome and encouraged them to write and share them with others.

For example, Shannon MacDonald submitted a poem titled “Vegas” about the tragic shooting in Vegas for Young Writers Project. Here is the first two stanzas of her poem.


9:50 pm

a starlit city on the

dawn of october,

burned red with bar signs

and stop lights.


on this night in Sin City

steam rose from the

floor of the concrete jungle.

predators prowled, prey lurked.

metal vines swung from construction sites,

sun and moon peered between buildings to cast

light on the animals on the street…


Read more on https://youngwritersproject.org/node/18046.

MacDonald received comments on her poem including one from a Young Writers Project administrator.

I could swear you were standing right there. Your words and pacing and voice make this viscerally real. The scene you paint, the steam rising, the “metallic stink of blood.” All the senses are on high alert. Wow, semacdonald. Thank you for putting into words the unthinkable,” Susan Reid, an administrator of Young Writers Project, said in response.

Reid’s reply to MacDonald’s poem is a small example of the feedback students would give in club.

“Poetry can allow kids to paint sketches of their lives, using metaphor, imagery and symbolic language to describe painful experiences, or parts of themselves that they’re not ready to share.” Says the edutopia.org website.

Poetry can improve students ability to write and understand what they are writing. It creates a confidence in students so they can express themselves through their writing.

Poetry definitely has benefits to being in schools, it can create a better sense of community and respect for everyone and their work.