Kent State’s (Tortured) Poets Department

Wick Weekly is a program unique to Kent State that helps students tap into their inner poet

Kent State University students can tap into their inner poet with Wick Weekly, a distinctive program hosted by the Wick Poetry Center.  

Whether students are Down Bad* for someone or are looking for a way to process current events (like a certain singer's new album), poetry can open up a door to a world where students can create and explore.

That’s the goal of the Wick Weekly, one of the distinctive programs hosted by the Wick Poetry Center.  

Every Friday students gather in the basement classroom of the Wick Poetry Center, where graduate student Cait Young (they/them) leads students in lesson plans to introduce them to the Wonderland of poetry.  

“The only relationship that most students have with poetry is the introduction that they had in the fifth grade to Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson,” Young said. “I think what's beautiful about these workshops is that you don't have to have any experience or familiarity with poetry to participate.”

May Prentice House/Wick Poetry Center

Through the workshop’s activities, students explore poetry and find the Style that best suits them.  

Young typically will first lead students in a creative exercise like listening to a song, making a self-portrait with words or reading other poems to get ideas.  Young has been organizing the workshops since her time as an undergraduate student at Kent State started in 2018.  

“I think strangely what helped attendance was COVID,” Young said. "During that time, we would meet at 1 on Fridays via Zoom and a lot of people would come and I think people in times of crisis are drawn to the arts, like poetry, for its ability to help us process our emotions to grieve and to understand things and understand ourselves.”  

Poetry has been found to help those with mental health, as it gives an outlet to put emotions people feel into words. Young prides themself on making the workshop welcoming to those who attend so they can have a sense of Peace as they participate at times of vulnerable activity.  

“A lot of people encounter poetry in moments when they are searching for something within themselves some kind of an answer, and when people are grieving or mourning something, they find poetry or writing poetry,” Young said.  

Through their years leading the workshop Young has gotten to witness epiphany after epiphany from those participating in the workshops who have gotten to process their emotions with Young’s prompts and directions.  

“I just like the discussion talking about topics that I'm interested in,” said Ty Sanchez, junior digital media production major.  

Wick Weekly

As students started to gather in the classroom in the Wick Poetry Center the connection Young has with them is obvious. Young seems like a Superstar to students as they catch up with each other. Young starts off the last workshop of the semester and of their time as a Kent State student by asking students what they are obsessed with.  

“Nature,” one student says.  

“Emotions and experiences,” another one says.  

Pretty soon the room is buzzing with topics that the students are interested in. Young then takes the warmup exercise and transitions into reading a poem that will inspire the poems the students will write during the workshop.  

Though this workshop is Young’s last one, they hold many memories from the workshops they have hosted throughout the years.  

One of their favorite moments from leading the workshop was when the workshop they were hosting looked at the controversy surrounding the Lil Nas X song "Call Me by My Name" and compared it to a poem by Tiana Clark that is based on the Rihanna song “B*tch Better Have My Money.”

“A community member who had just come out was really struggling to find community and acceptance,” Young said. “So, she heard about Wick Weekly and she came, and it was a really beautiful experience for her, and she really valued it and wrote an amazing poem.”  

As Young reflects on their time hosting the Wick Weekly workshops, they hope students can share Young’s love of poetry.  

“I hope that students get a new understanding and that they form a new relationship with poetry that's based on what it really is, and the actual, like transformative power that it can have,” Young said.  

Learn more about the Wick Poetry Center.

*Taylor Swift song title reference

POSTED: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 09:56 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2024 10:58 AM
Tanner Poe, Flash Communications
Tanner Poe