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Poetry is What Happens When Nothing Else Can

By Olivia Punch, For the Clock
On April 29, 2015

PHOTO CREDIT / HAYDEN LEITH

Writing is surprising; it transports the author into a whole other world with different people, a new realm outside of what is known as reality. The sensation of putting the first line on paper is something so delicious it makes the mouth water for more.

Poets and Writers, a student-led organization here at PSU, opens its doors to writers of all kinds, guiding a path to the literary world and offering a community for artists to let their creativity flow. Poets and Writers organizes weekly meetings for alike artists to join in workshops, writing prompts, and to share upcoming events and opportunities. 

Along with the weekly meetings, Burrito Me opens its doors once a month to Poets and Writers for Open Mic night, offering an audience for the ones brave enough to share their personal writings to the public. Open Mic night offers openings for writers to take their written words and turn them into spoken words, to share their stories with others in the community by opening up and embracing their abilities to create. 

President of the organization, Hannah Dutton, Sophomore, Anthropology major, shares her passion of writing and her love for Poets and Writers. “Poetry and writing have been with me for as long as my love for Social Science, and Anthropology specifically. My drive to write poetry is to bridge the gap, in a way between my ‘science brain’ and my ‘art brain’. I spend so much time in my field, that poetry makes a nice escape into the more emotional parts of myself” said Dutton. 

While Dutton organizes meetings, Open Mic nights, and Centripetal submissions, there are a lot of other duties that don’t go unnoticed. Poets and Writers’ treasurer, Hannah Hounsell, Sophomore, English Education Major, handles the heavy duties, such as Poets and Writers’ budget, making purchases followed by reports along with balancing their checkbook. “I sit down with Hannah [Dutton] to plan next year's budget and then sit in front of the Allocations Committee to defend the budget. Finally, the entire eboard works together on our various events, weekly meetings, Open Mics, and Centripetal printing. We all work with each other to get this stuff done,” said Hounsell.

For many, Poets and Writers is an experience that will leave them with greater writing skills, new friends and connections, but as treasurer, this organization will leave Hounsell with more than that. 

“Not only have I connected with a lot of writers and creative minds at our meetings and monthly Open Mics, I have learned a lot of helpful skills; Balancing a checkbook, keeping a budget, being involved with publishing Centripetal, and working together with other students will definitely help me in the "real world." I'm pretty thankful for my experiences” said Hounsell. 

Poets and Writers Senior Editor, Ryan Cameron, Senior, English Major, shows great dedication to Poets and Writers. “I feel at this moment, the writing community is as strong as I have seen it in my tenure here at PSU. I think what makes us such a strong group of people is that we all care deeply about each other’s works and we are incredibly supportive of the art we display at the Open Mics. We want the writing community to continue to grow. It saddens me to leave just as things are getting good, but I leave in such a state of overwhelming pride for the things that have been accomplished over the past year,” said Cameron. 

Writing comes with more than a pen and a piece of paper, but a rejuvenating sense of life, “What I think draws me to writing is the sense of catharsis that is established when someone writes down anything. I see writing as a meditative tool, one that is grounded in its abilities for communication. Writing serves as a way to discuss certain things that do not come up in conversation easily, and it allows for a more developed discourse to occur between the writer and the self, or with a friend, a lover, an enemy, or a room full of other writers. There is also the sense that even the greatest leaps of someone’s imagination can be embodied by language and then allowed to be shared with anyone,” said Cameron. 

The title of mastermind behind Poets and Writers, the one who started the organization from dirt, would have to be accredited to advisor, Paul Rogalus. With literature ingrained in his bones, Rogalus is prouder than ever to say that, “This group of students running Poets and Writers now is fantastic. They run the show. They love what they're doing, and they're great at it.  Hannah has really taken control, and made it a very strong organization. And Ryan has been a nice balance, especially with the Open Mics, bringing in a different sort of coolness to the scene, a sort of bohemian atmosphere. It's incredibly fun just to be a part of it.  I really love the atmosphere of the Open Mics--it's such a comfortable, welcoming, and very cool experience. Seeing what's happening with these students really strongly reminds me why I got into writing in the first place,” said Rogalus.

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