By Staff Writer Seth Tamarkin.
Look at your Instagram and social media and you are bound to see tons of people who want to pursue rap or poetry. Often though, most people with that desire do not have an outlet to express their poetry freely.
If you’re looking for that means of expression, the student organization Poetic Justice is the perfect fit. Founder Leiandra Riley (graphic design, 2021) breaks down what makes this club unique and why you should join, even if you haven’t performed before.
“Poetic Justice is about people taking what they’re going through and expressing it to everybody else or just to themselves within poetry of any type of form,” she said. She also said that poetry is a great venue for expression because of how freeing and accessible the medium is, noting how a lot of people do open mics, rap and sing, or just learn basic poems throughout school.
The freeing quality of poetry is where justice comes in, because “without freedom there is no justice. When you have a pen and paper in your hand you have the freedom to write whatever you want, exactly what’s on your mind.”
Those virtues are on display every meeting, where anyone can recite their personal poetry or any poem they would like to perform without being judged by others.
To ensure that, the only rule is that no member can talk about the poetry outside of the meetings, “for the simple fact that everyone wants to speak their mind but may not want everyone to know,” Riley said, “We want to keep it like a safe haven where anybody can say what they want.”
In addition to poetry readings and open mics, there are many other activities at each Poetic Justice meeting.
One activity is Blackout, where you take a magazine or book and black out words, creating an original poem within the words that haven’t been blacked out. “Another game is a ‘Wild ‘n Out’ type of game where we have two different topics” Riley said, “and each team has to come up with a song or poetry. Then we go head to head and whoever gets the most votes in the end wins.”
The weekly meetings aren’t the only aspects of the organization either. She went into other events lined up for the rest of the semester too. “We’re getting our meetings going right now but also we have a fundraiser coming up.”
This isn’t a basic fundraiser though, Riley mentioned that the fundraiser is has a battle-rap style to it. “What we are trying to do is have a couple rappers or anybody come in and battle each other with certain topics and words. Then we have them compete in a bracket like March Madness and there are prizes for…first, second, and third place.”
Although, the date for the fundraiser isn’t until late April, each meeting is on Thursday from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in Auditorium 006 at the Campus Center. “Everybody has a story to tell, so come and tell it!” Riley added.