SUNY New Paltz will soon be home to a brand new club. The New Paltz Poetry Club is currently in the process of being created by second-year English majors Isabel Arter and Alexa Gravitch.
The pair have been working on starting the Poetry Club since last semester. They collaborated in their Creative Writing I class with the idea to begin the club and from there the two hit the ground running.
“Last semester I took a class that dealt largely with poetry and I was captured instantly. Within that short period of time it became the thing people associated with me,” Arter said. “I began brainstorming ways I could share my new passion.”
This newfound passion has since morphed into the early stages of what an abundant organization on the SUNY New Paltz campus can become.
One of the biggest reasons Arter and Gravitch wanted to start a poetry club is because the campus lacks an organization that focuses on creative writing. Of over 100 organizations listed on New Paltz Engage website, none have the goal of establishing a community of literary creatives and that is what the Poetry Club sets out to do.
“I hope the poetry club can bring poetry lovers together! It’s an underrated medium for creative expression that New Paltz needs,” says Gravitch.
“I’m hoping the poetry club will be a literary community here on campus. I want to bring together people who share my love of poetry and see what we can create when we all sit down together,” Arter added.
In its simplest form, the two women aim to create a space for people to come and express themselves through their writing in the same manner that they fell in love with last semester: poetry.
“My high school creative writing teacher (a SUNY New Paltz alumnus) ran the school’s poetry club, and I wanted to bring that space for creative outlet and community to New Paltz,” Arter said. This sense of community is extremely important to these two women and it shows in the drive and meaning behind what their club stands for.
“Poetry club meetings will usually include a reading and a prompt based on the reading. As inspired by our Creative Writing I professor,” Arter said regarding meetings. “Prompts will be open-ended, thought-provoking questions or themes rather than rigid story prompts.”
There will also be a heavy emphasis on workshopping each other’s writing in order to create a sound and thorough piece of art. Further, Arter and Gravitch are hoping to host a poetry slam event at some point along with creating a zine with contributions from all members of the club.
Beyond just an idea and a sentiment, there is a great deal of work that goes into creating a club. First off, you need to make sure there is a desire for people to participate in the activities the club offers.
“We had to make sure that the poetry club is something New Paltz students would want,” Gravitch said. “Sure enough, we’ve had over twenty people respond to our general interest Google form.”
However, looking for these people is not easy and can be a relatively daunting task. Arter describes this by saying, “We were told we needed 10 members to start the club, and I was worried we would never find 10 whole people who wanted to join a poetry club.”
However, to the pair’s surprise they were met with a good reception and are anticipating a decent turnout once the club is officially started.
Once that step is fulfilled there are a lot of bureaucratic nuances that need to be dealt with as well. “Most of our time spent working on the club was spent sending clarification emails, trying to figure out Engage and typing up the constitution,” Arter recounted. These are all integral parts of starting a club on the SUNY New Paltz campus. Accessibility and a clear vision are important to creating a club that will outlast its initial members.
The pair have both described the process of starting the club as relatively easy and smooth. They have encountered no real major roadblocks up to this point and hope that that trend stays true even after the club is officially started. The two founding members have put a great deal of effort into their dream and we wish the best in their future with the Poetry Club.
You can find the New Paltz Poetry Club on Instagram @nppoetry where you can reach out and show interest in becoming a member.