Poetry in a Pandemic

Despite modern challenges, the Lodi High School Poetry Club has prevailed against a tough year. With a new format and new faces, the club has continued to meet weekly, exceeding expectations with the repertoire of literature presented. From freshmen to seniors, members are welcomed to join and read their own poems, leaving it open to interpretation and discussion. From thereon out, club members can deliberate in order to unearth the meanings and themes behind a piece. Advisor and students alike give honest criticism as well as in depth perspectives of multiple literary aspects. Then, the creator of the poem can step in to relay the true significance of their writing, as well as uncover any symbolic or personal meanings. Poetry club is completely voluntary as students are never forced to participate, and are always welcome to simply join and listen. The club has established that with determined members, anything is possible.

A Brief History of the Poetry Club

The extracurricular began seven years ago and was primarily run by former English teacher, Mr. Morali. Meetings were conducted Thursdays after school in room 123, with teachers such as Mr. Schram, Ms. Getrajdman, and Ms. Gillenson stopping by to participate. Students who wanted to read their poems would go up to the chalkboard and write their names on a first come first serve basis. Everyone would go down the list and go through the process of sharing and critiquing. As the years progressed and advisors left, Mr. Schram was the last man standing, and took over from 2017 onward. In past school years, the club visited Teen Arts, an event at Bergen Community College where performance, music, visual, and literary arts are celebrated. They submitted poems before the visit and had them read by professors during the function. They would critique them all as they were shared amongst cohorts of multiple schools. In recent years, the club became a group of about 5 students, but during the pandemic, it has increased significantly, with about 12 committed members. Out of curiosity, The Lodi Rampage wanted to reach out to Mr. Schram and ask him his views on this year’s pandemic collective.

An Interview with Club Advisor, Mr. Schram:

How has this club worked during the pandemic and how do you think it has persevered?

“I think one of the beautiful things about the club is that it has been able to make the jump virtually unlike a lot of other clubs that require in person effort. We are able to still meet and share poems, and it also feels like we have more time now that we are home. In the building, we would get kicked out by the custodians, but in all honestly, we pretty much run the club as if we were in person anyway. I think we have been able to make the transition, and I think the members in this club have taken it by the horns.”

How has this year’s group differed from other years?

“Unlike past years where people have been afraid to open up, I think everyone here is very open and no one is afraid to share their opinions and thoughts. I think this poetry club is the most candid it ever has been. Everyone here is excited to share with one another! When I see the faces in this club, everyone comes from different backgrounds and grades, but when everyone comes together, there is incredible chemistry. If someone told me German, Nick, and Eileen would be in a club together, I would be like what kind of club is that? I would have never guessed such a positive outcome to result from it. And now that we have freshmen like Stephanie here too, it is incredible. We are all going through this pandemic together and that is something we are all able to share and build upon. Also, poetry club for this past couple of years has been all women, but this year there have been guys. I think the diversity has definitely benefited this club.”

What are some of your favorite elements of Poetry Club?

“I think the most important thing is the interaction between students. Students getting vulnerable and presenting a piece of art they are working on but sharing criticisms in an honest fashion is a beautiful thing about this club. We support and care about one another and that element of this club is an opportunity to connect with one another but in an analytical and academic fashion. The students are practically having another English class on Thursdays without even noticing it. You also become a better writer when you are in this club. There are just so many positives about this club.”

What are some words you would say to the seniors?

“Keep writing keep challenging yourself and always know that writing is a great outlet for when things are going well or not so well in life.”

What do you hope for in the future for poetry club?

“I would like to see more members and more dedicated members as well.”



Take a look at some of the poems from this school year:

Interviews with Club Members:

Why should people join poetry club?

Eileen Balakrishnan: It is enticing because you do not HAVE to speak, you can choose to sit back and listen or present if you really want to. It is a comfortable atmosphere.

Stephanie Ochoa: I have definitely learned a lot from my short time here. The club is definitely worth it because of the atmosphere. It makes people feel like no one is abandoned or not included.

German Castro: The perspectives you gain from poetry club –You hear so many opinions and view points on even the most basic topics like flowers. It opens your mind.

Nicolas Marin: Poetry Club has been such a great experience this school year. I recommend this club for multiple reasons: the culture of existentialism, the support and criticism, and the expansion of one’s thought processes. You meet incredible minds and read incredible art. Also, the rapport I have had with others when discussing meanings is incomparable.

Mr. Schram: In this club, what you put into it is what you get out of it. It is not like sports where if you don’t make the cut you can’t play. You have the opportunity to participate or you can just enjoy the environment. I think we are a thriving club compared to every other club at the school right now. Also, for students that are introverted, they always have the option to participate the way they can virtually, through the chat.


Club members: Abigail Rojas, Alicia Kim, Ana Radojevic, Crismeiry Carabello, Nicolas Marin, Eileen Balakrishnan, Elisha Diaz, German Castro, Marianella Martinez, Sara Bendo, Stephanie Ochoa


Poetry club meets every Thursday at 2:00 pm. Please reach out to Mr. Schram if you are interested:

[email protected]

The poetry club hopes to see you there!