What to do if you are a winsome writer at UCLA (and ain’t got no writing friends)

Hey, I’ve been there.

I have received several emails from writers and poets asking me about Society of Poetry even after its extinction. Each email puts a thorn in my heart for what should still be going on in any university: a group of poets gathering together to maintain an active community of readings, discussions, and fun. This is why I am going to let you in on what you can do at UCLA to keep yourself poetic.

1. Join a Creative Writing Class in Poetry or Fiction
All majors at UCLA are welcome to apply to creative writing classes at UCLA. This is the BEST way to meet other talented poets at UCLA and there are classes available every quarter under the English dept listing.  They require a 3-5 page packet of your best work, but any person with the promise of spunk, creativity, and talent will be considered for their betterment. Weirdos need apply. There are also professors in the dept interested in experimental, conceptual, surreal, misch. weird work.

2. Join or submit to Westwind
Westwind is the premier journal for literature and the arts at UCLA, run entirely by students. Each year they receive applications for editors and senior editors and any dept can apply. I guarantee you will meet the people most interested in your genre of work in this small community. Also, if you submit to Westwind and your work gets published, you will instantly be linked to parties and readings that will help you meet new poets. I was Senior Editor of Poetry for 2010-2011 year. I know what I speak of.

3. Look Up Creative Writing Groups Through Student Affairs
UCLA lists all of its active student groups in the following site: http://www.studentgroups.ucla.edu/webhome/. The English Dept’s student councilor, Janel  Munguia, sends emails about student groups periodically. Being part of the student mailing list is a great way to also learn what new creative writing opportunities are afoot.

4. Start a Creative Writing Student Group
All the information you need to register a group come fall or winter is right here. You need to person’s signatures to register with you and you are done. Having a group means you will be able to reserve classrooms, audiovisual equipment, public or private areas in order to hold events. You will even get permission to post fliers and boards around campus, along with having your own table down Bruin Walk. These are things that are not always allowed unless you are working through a student group. It also means you might receive funding from the school if you apply for it on time (something I never did, so I always had to pay from my pocket–not a pleasant experience).

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Once you have exhausted these ideas, if there are still no opportunities to meet other poets and share in your poetic experiences, please do visit your local poetry readings, such as the Poetry Series at the Hammer museum (run by poetry professor Stephen Yenser), or the open mics at BrewCo.


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