The new poetry club, Story Telling of Natural Expression, is a growing group at Mills that is trying to promote diverse forms of artistic expression.
Although STONE meetings are not kept secret, meeting locations are. This seems to make STONE a curious attraction.
“I think the secrecy creates a sense of creative atmosphere,” said freshwoman Alex Cruz, the creator and president of STONE.
Despite advertising through flyers and word of mouth, STONE has not gained much recognition since the creators are trying to keep the group relatively mysterious.
STONE is currently in the process of finding an adviser who compliments its style of creativity and open-mindedness, but who can also give it the support it needs to get the word out about STONE.
Cruz said she has been writing since before she can remember and that she has no problem writing or presenting her art.
However, because some people feel uncomfortable sharing their writing, Cruz said she felt a strong impulse to create a place where everyone could feel at ease about presenting their art to others.
“There was no question in my mind whether I should make this group or not. It just had to happen,” Cruz said. “People simply need a place to tell their stories and to release themselves. STONE is here to listen.”
On Oct. 24, STONE had its sixth official meeting at a place that the creators wish not to disclose, since it is one of the usual meeting locations. The meeting started at 9 p.m. and the group of around 20 people slowly grew until about 9:30 p.m., when everyone finally sat together in a communal cluster and were welcomed by Cruz and Vice President Hazel Wheeler.
The creators briefly spoke of their future plans for the group, but were eager to get the poetry flowing and they quickly gave the spotlight to anyone who chose to take it first.
According to Cruz and Wheeler, STONE, whose members have shown more of an interest in poetry, has been trying to encourage other art forms to partake in weekly meetings.
Still, people mainly presented spoken word, but all pieces were widely diverse in style and powerful in feeling. Many pieces expressed deep connection with loved ones and social justice issues such as race, war, and politics. One young man from Oakland did an improvisational rap song, known as free-styling, that had everyone in the cluster clapping a steady beat.
Wheeler said STONE encourages anyone to feel free with their expression and to try new things.
“I have written since I learned how to write. I know the mechanics of poetry as a written word, but not as a spoken word,” she said.
Expressing herself is important to Wheeler because she said she has used poetry as a psychological therapy and an emotional release throughout her life. Because of STONE, she now has an even stronger passion to share and support others in sharing.
Other students seem to also be reaping the benefits of STONE.
“I feel like it’s a really fun place. It’s a big change from last year because there wasn’t any place for people to really share their work,” said sophomore Milani Pelley. “[STONE] is a communal and diverse group of people who come to share their gifts with one another.”
The aim of STONE is to promote various forms of artistic expression in a comfortable and unified environment.
Participants agreed that STONE is a place for people to feel calm, supported and free with their personal expression.
Cruz said that STONE is a place where students can read their art and “have people really listen to them.”