In honor of National Poetry Month, Campus Learning Assistance Services hosted its f irst Poetr y Booth last Thursday, along with award-winning poet and Poetry Booth creator, Michelle Detorie. The event, which was held on the Student Resource Building patio, invited passersby to feed their inner poets with fun poetry projects and activities.

Detorie’s impetus for creating the Poetry Booth was her own love of collaborative art projects.

“I’ve always liked public art, and my own work involves tactile poetry,” Detorie said. “I think art is radical and liberating. It gives you the opportunity to interact with the world in a different way.”

In 2010, Detorie won a grant from the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative for the Poetry Booth and since then it has been circling through art communities in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. It appeared in Santa Barbara’s First Thursday on April 6 and was also a part of Los Angeles Road Concerts on Sunset Boulevard, both of which had successful turnouts.

The Poetry Booth, which Detorie describes as “a mutable collection of materials and activities that are curated and installed in a site-specific way each time the booth is staged,” took shape in two tables overflowing with poetry books, games and inspiration-helpers. One interesting inspiration game was the divination poetry maker, which functioned like a dreidel. A participant would spin the poetry maker and write a poem on the prompt the poetry maker landed on.

“All of this helps take away the anxiety of ‘inspiration’ or doing it the ‘right’ way,” Detorie said to a participating student. “The universe has a way of telling you what poem you should write.”

Amy Boutell, learning skills and writing instructor at the CLAS writing lab and a friend of Detorie’s, has also helped propel creative writing projects with the CLAS creative writing workshops on a variety of topics.

“The Poetry Booth is the first special event hosted by the new creative writing program at CLAS,” Boutell said. “We thought it would be a fun way to celebrate National Poetry Month and get people involved making poems.”

Throughout the two hours the Poetry Booth was set up, people came and went creating poetry.

“I feel great!” one participant exclaimed as she finished her magnet poem.

Although the Poetry Booth is the first big event the CLAS creative writing program has hosted, CLAS also offers a variety of creative writing workshops on Fridays that range from how to write a memoir to guides on how to apply to MFA programs to blog writing.

“I hope the Poetry Booth introduces students to these workshops and they’ll be able to come and enjoy and discover their voices as poets and writers,” Boutell said.

For those who are interested, tomorrow CLAS will be offering a poetry workshop led by CLAS writing tutor Sonja Magnuson, which will focus on “the art of the mundane.”