Rhymes and reasons to join Poetry Club

Simon Mermelstien starts the poetry club open mic night

Simon Mermelstien, a 28-year-old WCC alumnus kicks off the open mic night held by the Poetry Club in the Writing Center. Gray Bancroft | Washtenaw Voice




Fans of live poetry, have no fear: the Poetry Club is here. Students, faculty, and alumni alike gathered in the interest of spoken word at the Poetry Club’s first open mic night of the semester on Sept. 18. According to Tom Zimmerman, the club’s advisor, they host two open mic nights, with another happening toward the end of the fall semester. The Poetry Club meets every Friday at 5 p.m. in the Writing Center, located on the third floor of the Liberal Arts building.

“I usually start out the meeting passing out poems I’ve selected from websites by poets that I think that the students and other club members might be interested in reading, or something new that seems interesting and that stimulates us into eventually doing some writing. That’s where we end our meeting, with a free write,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman went on to say, “Occasionally members want to workshop one of their poems (during the meeting) and we are sort of like a creative writing class where we make copies of someone’s poem and the poet reads it and gets feedback from the group.”

Along with the Poetry Club, Zimmerman is the director of the Writing Center and is the mind behind The Huron River Review published here at Washtenaw.

The Huron River Review is a literary magazine that began in 2001 and the first issue came out in 2002. We’ve done 14 issues since then,” Zimmerman said. “It’s won a ton of awards. We have so many talented poets around here.”

One of the aforementioned poets, the president of the club, 21-year-old Tyler Wettig, does his best to look for the best in each poet’s writing.

“There is a poet by the name of William McGonagall who is considered to be the worst poet in the English language. I really enjoy reading stuff called bad and finding the best in that,” said the creative writing major.

Wettig first got involved with the Poetry Club at the end of the fall 2014 semester. He then went on to become the president in the following winter semester.

Simon Mermelstein, a WCC alumnus and Writing Center tutor was one of the original members of the Poetry Club, who also helped push Wettig to become the president.

“He was a tutor who went to all the meetings and we made him the president because he was the only one who could get it done,” Mermelstein said.

The 28-year-old, Ann Arbor resident is one of the club’s senior members and the lead maestro on the microphone when it comes to open mic night.

“I don’t work on one type of style. I have a background in rhyme and mute poetry, and it’s been useful in free verse,” Mermelstein said.

“There is really no way to describe Poetry Club, or encapsulate it in one word, but 211 years ago today (Sept. 18), Beethoven’s Symphony Number 3 in E Flat was top of the charts. It was because it brings in the age of Romantics,” Wettig said. “When I think of Tom and Simon and all the other brilliant minds of the poetry club, I think of Beethoven’s age of Romantics.”




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