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SNC writing club, faculty participate in poetry reading

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On Sept. 29, Sierra Nevada College’s Creative Writing Club made a trip down to Reno to attend a poetry reading put on by 100 Thousand Poets for Change, partnered with Planned Parenthood and the University of Nevada, Reno’s creative writing MFA Program. The subject of the night: women’s bodies and rights.

“Readings are good for the soul, and all students ought to attend literary events, regardless of their major,” SNC events coordinator and club advisor Nicole Ross said.

Every year, 100 Thousand Poets for Change sets a day where poets, musicians and artists can, “promote peace, sustainability and justice, and to call for a serious social, environmental and political change.”

Photo: Miranda Jacobsen
Gayle Brandeis, right, stands with a student after sharing her poetry at a poetry reading this month in Reno.

The Creative Writing Club continually looks for opportunities to hear other poets’ work, as well as immerse themselves in the culture of the literary community. Reno has many places of culture to offer, including countless different art pieces that can be found all over the city. West Market Street provided a fun place to read, as well as a great environment for local poets and artists to convince and share their thoughts on the current status of women’s rights and bodies in society.

Not only did the Creative Writing Club attend to be among fellow writers and activists, but for the career opportunities that readings can provide for English and creative writing majors.

“Events like these allow the Creative Writing Club members to interact with professional writers and network with creative writing students at other schools in the area,” Ross said.

Writer and creative writing faculty member Gayle Brandeis was among the readers at the event, and was excited to be able to work with 100 Thousand Poets for Change after admiring their work since the organization was founded in 2011.

“I love the fact that thousands of poets read their work around the globe on the same day, using their voices for positive change in the world,” she said. “I was excited that one of the events was being planned in Reno and was so happy to be a part of it.”

Brandeis finds poetry readings important not only for the content, but for the experience that comes with it. She finds that poems are different on and off the page, and are experienced differently depending on how they are presented to the listener.

“Lots of students have only seen poetry on the page and have maybe felt intimidated by it,” she said. “Attending a poetry reading can help a student feel the true power of poetry, and see how relevant and accessible it can truly be.”

The event was also a great way to learn more about Planned Parenthood. Following the 10 scheduled readers of the night, anyone who was willing to donate a dollar to Planned Parenthood was welcome up for an open mic section.

“Students of all genders can benefit deeply from learning about women’s rights and Planned Parenthood,” Brandeis said. She believes that when students are educated about issues like the ones addressed at the event, such as consent and power, as well as struggles women have gone through, and continue to go through, it can lead to “personal empowerment, as well as dismantling power structures that have hurt women.”

While the Creative Writing Club attended the event for its deep love for poetry and faculty members, it also came to observe and learn. This year, the Creative Writing Club has decided to bring back Open Mic Nights at Sierra Nevada College, and wanted to get in the mindset of a reading to be able to plan their own.

Sophomore and the club’s social media director Nikki Sardelli was one of the students that attended the event, and is also one of the key planners of the readings.

“We’re excited to be doing something for the creative thinkers at SNC, and knew that we could get some good ideas from attending other readings,” she said. The readings will be open to all types of performances, and should be starting before the semester ends.

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SNC writing club, faculty participate in poetry reading