Open Mic Appeals to Broader Audience

Joelle Nelson, Co-Editor in Chief

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The library hosted an Open Mic Night for musicians, poets, students and guest performers on April 26. Librarian Sarah Morgan explained that the format of the event was changed from the poetry slam format of the previous 2 years in order to appeal to a broader audience and increase turnout.

“We thought this year we would like to include more people, and with the poetry slam, we would get a certain kind of poetry genre that has a certain pace to it… it tends to be more of a performance,” Morgan said.  “But this way, we wanted to say, whoever you are, if you are reading your own poems or someone else’s, we just want you to get up.”

Guests included author Darion Carlyle and creative writing workshop director Elizabeth Perlman, who presented their own original works.

Senior Athya Uthayakumar served as the event’s master of ceremonies. “I think my favorite part is that everyone here has an amazing voice, and I don’t mean that to try and play that up, I really think everyone here has a really amazing ability to create stories and I wish more people would embrace that,” she said.

According to Morgan, the library used the experience of the last 2 years to develop the open mic event. She had noticed that at previous poetry slams, more people would spontaneously get up to perform during the open mic segment at the end.

Morgan also wants students to view the event as a platform for a variety of mediums. “I want people to know poetry doesn’t just have to come from your English class,” she said.

Uthayakumar also acknowledged that many attendees came to receive extra credit, but she added that “the people who come for extra credit have amazing voices too, and what I want people to take away from this night is that their voice can be used for more than just an English project.”

According to Uthayakumar, the teachers who offer extra credit for performing at the event “gets some people out of the classroom and into a space where they might be more receptive to trying to get into writing more.”

“I think this is a really cool event that people can come and contribute to, even if it’s something small,” said sophomore Madeline House, who kicked off the evening with a presentation of one of her original poems.

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