The Cass Tech's Poetry Club (CTPC) is an after-school club that allows students to express and find their artistic identity through strengthening their writing and improvisation skills. Club members meet weekly and this year all meetings have been held virtually.
The club was established in 2017 and has grown ever since. The CTPC is one of the many sites of the Citywide Poets after-school program. This organization helps mentor and develop Detroit’s youth to become better writers and performers. The students who are a part of this program are able to connect and inspire each other to create amazing pieces.
Due to the pandemic, the Inside Out Citywide Poets program had to quickly transition from a bustling in-person club to a virtual platform. The program has sponsored various online writing and improvisation workshops, as well as open mics.
Being a member of the organization has its many perks as explained by Cass Tech Poetry Club's sponsor, Brittany Rogers. She said students are exposed to a wide community of professional writers, an opportunity to win a scholarship and sustained time to compose pieces.
Mrs. Rogers explained that Inside Out and Citywide Poets serve as a wider community and network of writers for students. She went on to say that the organizations come with countless professional and personal opportunities that the youth would not have access to otherwise.
"The programs that they offer are exclusive to Citywide Poets students." Mrs. Rogers said
Cass Tech senior Cerinity Crenshaw said she has enjoyed her time with Citywide Poets. She said she has received many of the great benefits of the Inside Out program since being introduced to it in middle school. Crenshaw has been inspired to develop her craft and it led to the career pathway of becoming a professional spoken word artist and journalist.
Crenshaw said she and her peers have gained a nurturing and safe space to be able to comfortably write. She said being in the club gives members a community where their ideas will be accepted and loved.
"Poetry is just a way of life and whether we're virtual, in-person, international it brings people together and that's what Inside Out has been doing for years," Crenshaw said.
This past year has been particularly challenging for all after school clubs. However, Cass Tech's Poetry Club has not only persevered, it has thrived.