Life in general can be stressful, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, typical methods of stress relief have become restricted. Some of us are in desperate need of an outlet to express pent up emotions collected during the shutdown. Virtual events and workshops, like The Petty Poetry Workshop, are safe ways to release pent up emotions. Fortunately, due to COVID-19 closures, there are more events and workshops being held.
On a Tuesday evening, Atlanta poet Ashlee Haze led a Petty Poetry workshop through CSU Stanislaus’ virtual events. The event was held virtually lasting just over an hour in length. To kick-off the event, Haze shared what her definition of petty poetry was and taught the participants how best to implement pettiness into their own petty poem.
A petty poem can best be described as an expressive poem using humorous insults directed at an individual, idea, or practice. Haze demonstrated the concept by introducing the group to a powerful poem called, “Dry Cake Wishes and Tap Water Dreams” found on Button Poetry’s YouTube channel by poet Rachel Wiley.
Wiley’s poem was about an ex boyfriend, who she wished a life of, “plain oatmeal, Indiana, and one-ply toilet paper.” Wide grins swept throughout the whole Zoom Session after gaining a better understanding of petty poetry through the video.
Haze followed up Wiley's ice breaking performance with some readings of her own petty poems (faculty approved versions). Towards the end of the event, participants were given a prompt on pettiness with about 15 minutes or so to write their own poem using pettiness to express otherwise pent up emotions. Students were then encouraged to, if comfortable, share their poems aloud to the class.
Learning the works and arts of pettiness through poetry in Ashlee Haze’s virtual workshop brought sparks and passion to Stanislaus students. Freshman Neida Chavez gave her thoughts about virtual events. She believes that virtual events are a great way to stay connected and involved in school despite having a pandemic in the way. She also mentions that Haze’s workshop was not one of her first, but was definitely one of her favorites.
When Chavez was asked about her reason for attending the event, she stated that poetry caught her eye and that she had just gotten out of a two year relationship. She explained that she had a lot going on for her that she couldn’t speak up about. This workshop was an outlet for her to express her pent up feelings.
Chavez stated that the workshop “sparked something that I needed, kind of like an F.U. poem”
As a business owner of RobinsonsDreams, a family-run company living on the dreams of Chavez’s late brother. She expressed her love for art and healing due to the incident of her brother committing suicide when she was only four years old. “Healing” is the title of her most popular painting she’s released so far. It shows a naked woman hugging herself. The image is painted in grey with light shining through her body. Chavez stated, “There’s no rule on the way you have to heal.”
When asked about how the definition of petty changed for her after attending Haze’s Petty Poetry Workshop, she answered that prior to this workshop, she saw the word as having a bad connotation. However after attending the workshop, her views changed. “Being petty seems so childish, but sometimes healing has got to be that way.”
Although many students like Chavez have found comfort in the virtual workshops offered to our campus community, others simply cannot find the time to participate.
Cody Malberg is a transfer student and stated that, “When it comes right down to it I would rather spend my free time socializing with my friends, not spending more time at school...You know how it is when you work full time, there’s barely enough time to watch a movie with my spouse or have dinner with the family. Sometimes I'm interested but, it’s such a hassle.”
For those who have the time, virtual events and workshops, like Petty Poetry, are a great way to socialize and work through the complicated emotions that have emerged during the pandemic. With the wide variety of events to choose from, students are likely to find something that interests them. Because of the money saved by hosting on a virtual platform, more events and workshops are available than ever before.
In an interview with senior analyst of events and facility rentals, Michael Cunha explained, “Now that everything is virtual, you do save on the hard cost of rentals and labor. For example, setting up an event for 200 guests in the main dining, there no longer are costs for custodial, food, chair and table rentals, security, parking, etc”.
If you go to Stan's Events Calendar, you can see all of the upcoming events. All the events on campus are brought to you by your fellow students in partnership with Stanislaus State staff members. So, if you decide there's an event you want hosted, partner with a familiar student organization, or bring all the information you need and make a reservation.
Whether you are interested in venting your emotions in a poetry workshop, learning about student budgeting, or simply wish to study with a group of your peers, Stan State’s virtual events have got you covered. Although our campus may be closed, our community is still open. Through these virtual events, students have continued to make connections with their peers during this isolating time in our lives.