Non-anonymous with Poets Anonymous

By Nichole Barber and Elizabeth Coss / The Jambar

At Youngstown State University, the Poetry Club hosts monthly events to connect with students interested in poetry and grow its membership.

The club has hosted a variety of events, including poetry in Mill Creek MetroParks, a Halloween party, poetry-related movie nights at William F. Maag Jr. Library, open-mic nights at Westside Bowl and a Valentine’s Day fundraiser. 

Most recently, the club hosted a Poetry Club Coffee Date at Pressed Coffee Bar and Eatery on Feb. 27 for a poetry workshop and open-mic poetry reading. The event was open to all and visitors came throughout the event to listen in.

Sara Khan, president of the Poetry Club and a senior biology pre-med major, said the club was struggling to keep members a year ago, but it has since built a strong, lasting community.

“We would welcome anyone who wants to know anything about poetry or the Poetry Club and what we do,” Khan said. “In order to be seen as an active organization is to be active — really make sure that people know about your events and to keep doing them no matter how small your group may be because it will grow.” 

Nicarlyle Hanchard, a sophomore journalism major and secretary for the club, has read his poetry at open-mic nights. Hanchard said sharing poetry is a heartfelt, personal experience. 

“When you write poetry or when you write any piece of work, you know the feelings that go into it because it’s not always the same emotion,” Hanchard said. “A lot of poems that I’ve heard from our members and officers as of late, it’s always the last line that ties in the whole thing … it’s not a conclusion because it’s how you feel and it’s not resolved. It’s just on the paper now.”

The club also holds a poetry workshop, Poets Anonymous, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. every  Thursday in the Training Room of Kilcawley Center.

“[Poets Anonymous] can be poems you made in the eighth grade. It can be poems you made the day before [and] anything that you feel comfortable sharing,” Khan said. “If you wanna feel validated about your writing and if you wanna hear people’s perspectives about the content that you are writing about — or you wanna hear the different perspectives about what you use, like the literary elements — then, you’re going to find it at Poets Anonymous.”

Zayda Stormer, a sophomore biology pre-med major, uses poetry to express emotion. Stormer said poetry acts as a form of activism for topics not always highlighted. 

“When it comes to activism for me, [poetry] is a form of screaming,” Stormer said. “I write a lot of my poetry about the Black experience, the Black experience as a fem-presenting person and being queer. So, I talk about a lot of my queer relationships, but I also talk about straight relationships, and just saying this is my life and this is something I’m going to represent, and if me existing is a form of activism, then that’s what it is.”

Anyone interested in becoming a member can message the Poetry Club through Instagram @ysupoetryclub or contact Khan at