By Amanda Leonard || Contributing Writer
Poetry can often be a very vulnerable art form. A poem can be a cry for justice, a provocative uncovering of the truth, or a witty, humorous anecdote.
No matter the subject, it’s important to create a safe space for authors to share their work. On F&M’s campus, the safe space is the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.
On Monday, September 12th, the Writers House held its kick-off party and Open Mic night, complete with pizza, sandwiches, soda, desserts, and most importantly a showcase of student poetry from creative writing majors and first-years alike.
The night started off with an introduction from Writers House Director, Professor Kerry E. Sherin Wright, followed by a read-aloud of the House’s Mission Statement, and finally, all performers and spectators going around and introducing themselves with their names and pronouns. After some discussion about upcoming events, the Open Mic commenced.
Only six people had signed up in advance to perform. However, after the first few poets performed, several audience members started to gain the confidence to share their work, and the set list tripled.
The poems tackled subjects from the movie Dead Poets Society, to Dominican heritage, to healing after trauma, and varied in length, structure, and rhythm. Some students shared several pieces. First-year Tess Fiumefreddo performed a trilogy of poems entitled “You Asked For It,” which emphasized the importance of “doing your own thing.”
In getting a chance to hear other poets’ work, Fiumefreddo said: “Learning about how people’s minds interpret one form of writing differently is very eye-opening as a fellow writer.”
Audrey Lee is an active participant in the Writers House and a member of LIFT, the campus slam poetry group. She performed a series of couplets entitled “American Dream” that she wrote for her poetry class. “I took the current and ongoing injustices in America into account to explain the unachievable myth of the American Dream and how the concept exploits marginalized peoples,” Lee said.
Cari Molin contributed a poem that included an extended metaphor referencing unrequited love. They said that they felt totally comfortable sharing in this environment. “[Open Mic] was really chill; everyone was really cool,” Molin said.
The Writers House is holding several other events during the semester, including visits from authors, “Shakespeare Aloud” sessions, Donut Wednesdays, and a Murder Mystery party. The first monthly Community Meeting for the House will be held on October 17th.
Visit www.fandm.edu/writers-house/events or the Writers House Facebook page for more information.
First-year Amanda Leonard is a Contributing Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.