Monday, January 28, 2013

The Poetry Club: Keeping the Art Form Alive

by Devese Ursery 

The Poetry Club is a group of tightknit writers who have a passion and love for an art form that has almost been forgotten, an art form that predates literacy. Regina Popper and Tim Layton are both English professors and advisors of the Poetry Club at Florissant Valley. They allow the poets to express themselves through well thought out verses, in a laid back atmosphere. During club meetings, poets recite their original poems and sometimes the poems of famous poets; after that, the poems are critiqued. The history of poetry is often discussed, along with different styles and forms. The Poetry Club also sponsors various Open Mic events and spoken word competitions, as well as written competitions, on and off campus. 

Oftentimes when a person thinks of poetry, they think of simple rhyme schemes or romantic eulogies pawning over a love lost. Most poets are typecast as ubersensitive or hopeless romantics, but the art form is much more than that. Poetry takes on many forms, from simple rhyming couplets to complex free verse. The earliest forms of poetry were believed to be orally recited or sung. 

Poetry includes both literary and musical features. On the literary side, poetry can use any combination of metaphor, simile, imagery, symbolism, allegory, and even narrative or storyline. Denotation (direct meaning) and connotation (indirect meaning) help to influence the literary meaning or sense of a poem. Musically, poetry uses rhyme, meter, assonance (similar vowels) and alliteration (similar consonants) to strike an auditory mood or tone. Poetry can be sarcastic or funny, charming or ugly, mystical or mundane. It allows the lyricist to delve into a different world, to create a new life, a new realm of comfort. It is up to the lyricist which road he decides to travel. It all depends on the writing style and choice of the poet. The inspiration of a writer comes from many different places. Scores of rhymesters are inspired by what they see or hear, some by real-life experiences and others by simply reading other poets. 

In the days of antiquity, poetry was employed as a way of remembering oral history, story (epic poetry), genealogy and law. Many ancient poems from the Vedas (1700-1200 B.C.) to the Odyssey (800-675 B.C.) seem to have been composed in poetic form to assist in memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies. Poetry appears among the earliest records of most literate cultures, with poetic fragments found on early monoliths, runestones and stela, (an upright slab with an inscribed or sculptured surface, used as a monument or as a commemorative tablet, in the Mayan civilization). 

Poetry is the true sense of the freedom of expression. A poet can speak his or her mind as freely as he or she wants. The Poetry Club permits all of its poets to speak freely and openly, with the only restraint being respect for each other. Weekly meetings for the Poetry Club are held every Wednesday at 2pm to 3pm in the Student Center, room PDR-C. This is located on the lower level across from the bookstore, in the back of the quiet study area. The Poetry Club welcomes everyone at Florissant Valley to come and enjoy casual readings, workshops, chat, and event planning. Anyone with a poem can get careful poem analysis with tips and feedback. For more information contact Tim Layton at (314) 513-4918, email him at, or just stop by one of the meetings.

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