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  • tpoeticslab

Armando R. Otero

In club from 2018-2019

International Studies/Anthropology

Growing up in a Spanish speaking country, I would often steer away from poetry and writing in english. English has never been my first language, so I have always had trouble writing in it. Coming to college in Michigan, I knew I had to push those insecurities aside and work with the language. Domo and Mitchel’s poetry club was huge in helping me reassure my english skills and love for poetry in other languages that were not spanish. I knew Domo and Mitchel from another program at UofM, so joining Poetry Club was as if I was coming back to some familiar, old friends. The interactions and dynamics in Poetry Club were always very natural and inspired everyone in it to be their most authentic self. Domo and Mitchel actually inspired everyone in Poetry Club to leave the shell we had to put on for classes, work, and life and just embrace our true selves through poetry.

Every meeting had its own unique twist to them. From writing mock haikus to rehearsing in the YES space in Ypsilanti, club meetings were an unpredictable joyride. Domo and Mitchel had always prepared the best workshops, exercises and opportunities for us to perform and present our poetry. One of the best parts of poetry were the one on one sessions where we would go line by line with our poetry. Before any performance, Domo and Mitchel made sure that we were happy and confident in our writing. This meant that they would go line by line on each of our poems and give us suggestions and feedback on how to make our poetry stand out. The focus was never to replace or impose on what we had written, but to fine-tune it to make sure everything was clear and our sentiments were felt throughout the piece. This approach made sure I always felt reassured and never put down and because of it, I am able to take constructive criticism without putting too much pressure on myself, and I am extremely grateful for that.

Overall, Domo and Mitchel were not only great mentors and club leaders, but also amazing friends. I knew both of these amazing people before club, so working with them was an absolute honor. For those who seek an experience full of learning and good poetry surrounded by even better people, this is the best place to do so. Make the most of it, of Domo and Mitchel’s expertise and of your peers, and I promise you will have a wonderful experience.

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