Poetry Open Mic Night :: A Reflection (better late than never?)
With Broadway in full bloom and Morningside Heights edging into summer, the streets are bustling and our doors are open. The Book Culture staff enjoy springtime for the opportunity to again bring a book outside and spread their toes in some grass. And, don’t forget, we are having our Spring Sale this month, starting Friday May 17th and lasting through Sunday, May 19th. It is the close of the semester and the perfect time to sell back your textbooks to receive store credit towards a book you’ve been waiting to start.
In the past few weeks the store has been busy, which is great(!), and I have not had the opportunity to update about the great things that have been happening; most notably, our Poetry Open Mic Night.
Book Culture held an Open Mic Night to celebrate National Poetry Month and it was a hit. There were so many early responders to read that I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to fit them all in, but it worked pretty perfectly. I was joined by Columbia University student, editor-in-chief of Quarto, and and former InterPublications Alliance’s chair, Rega, to help announce the readers. She was fantastic, I had so much fun talking with her about the event and her enthusiasm only added to the excitement.
There were around 20 people who joined to read, and even more to watch. The readers consisted of a mix of Columbia Students, Book Culture employees, neighborhood faces, as well as eager artists from outside the immediate area.
One of the readers, Yolande Brener, posted (more promptly than I) a wonderful piece about the event on her blog.
Many of the readers came with personal stories from which their poetry has risen. Catherine, one of the readers, expailed the origin of one of her poems being a photograph of her brother holding the carcass of a lamb demonstrating how he held it, then proceeded to read her poem inspired from this moment and the language around the image she holds onto. Ms. Brener read a poem called “Moon,” which she wrote as a younger woman about her brother. The sentiment these personal poems brought to the audience was powerful, especially in the case of Denise Janssen’s poem and the experience that prompted it. She read a poem called “Liberation,” which addressed the issues of gun violence in our country, and spanned a significant length of time. “Liberation” was speaking specifically to the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Ms. Janssen definitely made a statement with her piece and her story.
Passion was certainly not missing from the event. With poems entitled “Obsession” by Nathan Proctor, and short, epigramatic poems like “Actual Conversations” by Moira. T. Smith, there was a great amount of intensity which presented itself in laughter and murmurs of agreement and praise.
I wish I had time to mention everyone and how great of a job they did reading, but instead I’ll say: Thank you all for making our reading a success. Due to the feedback we received from you and the audience we will be scheduling more readings soon! Thank you all again.