Poetry plays such an important and instrumental role in so many lives around the world including mine. From the young age of nine I enjoyed reading Maya Angelou and Robert Frost; however, I was unsure how to continue my relationship with poetry in a more tangible way. I started writing poems during the pandemic as my own way to look at society and process issues that America was reckoning with. On a fall day of my first semester at Brandeis, I searched relentlessly for a poetry club — to no avail, because one did not exist. Luckily, this fall’s involvement fair will host Brandeis’ first poetry club called the Brandeis Organization of Poets, best known as BOOP.  

Greg Roitbourd ’26, one of the founders and writing coordinator, fell into poetry and songwriting particularly during the pandemic. Despite being a triple major in physics, creative writing, and theatre arts, he really enjoyed poetry and wanted to create a community at Brandeis for others who are also passionate about reading, enjoying, and creating poetry. He first had the idea in fall of 2022, so he created an interest form and had flyers posted around campus. Surprised with the level of interest in a poetry club, he began to assemble a team. 

“I saw people that I knew well enough that I could trust them with a club,” Roitbourd said in an April 23 interview with the Justice. “It was like my little baby.” He added that he wanted a non-hiercharal e-board, instead promoting a collaborative team of students committed to the club. The team consists of four other students serving on the executive board aside from Roitbourd: writing manager Morgan Collens ‘26, reading coordinator Maddie Leventhal ’26, reading manager Sam/Caden Daubon ’26, and outreach coordinator LaRue Vigil ’26.  Roitbourd shared that although BOOP is not an official club at Brandeis, it is very much thriving. The Instagram account, @brandeis.boop, has already amassed over a hundred followers, with a lavender aesthetic that is present through each post. 

boop insta (1).PNG
BOOP: The Brandeis Organization of Poets created a social media presence quickly following the club's launch.

In a May 4 interview with the Justice, Leventhal shared her personal experience with poetry as an appreciator, not creator. Leventhal explained that “poetry is such a powerful experience.” 

She prefers to be behind the scenes with the club, serving as public relations and writing manager. She described BOOP as unconventional: “We are a community and gathering space.” BOOP, like many clubs, requires a lot of work to build their community, including e-board meetings, researching poems and poets, and putting on events. In collaboration with the Brandeis Library, BOOP hosted their first open mic night on April 23 in celebration of National Poetry Month. Students took turns sharing their own poetry, as well as poetry created by others. Both Roitbourd and Leventhal agree that not only has social media revived poetry, but poetry is something that will never die despite its record of being unpopular. “We run the risk of all literature becoming a dying art. Social media has definitely [allowed] a resurgence of poetry, but poetry is a suffering art form, not a dying art form”  Leventhal passionately shared. Roitbourd said, “I think poetry is an artistic way to connect with the world and has been around so long that it will continue to thrive.” 

BOOP: Writers could be a creative as they wanted, whether hand writing or typing their poetry.

One of Roitbourd’s favorite poems is “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson, because it expresses the nuance of poetry as well as the skill of metaphors and symbolism. His favorite poet is Shel Silverstien. Leventhal enjoys all forms of poetry, including spoken word and especially confessional poetry. “Poetry is a relief and a way to express words that cannot be expressed in another way. It does not simply have to be words on a page,” Leventhal added. She said one of her favorite poems is “I’m not a religious person but” by Chen Chen, and her favorite spoken word poem is “Untitled” by Staceyann Chen. As for the future of the club, BOOP plans to incorporate collaborations with other clubs, as well as field trips and writing sessions at sunrise or sunset. I am very excited to see all that the Brandeis Organization of Poets does next.