On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the EMU Poetry Society welcomed students and community members to an open poetry mic night at Riverside Arts Center. There was food, beverages and a sign up sheet for the open mic that allowed guests to join in as they pleased.
In the downstairs portion of the Riverside Arts Center Gallery, the EMU Poetry Society set up a stage, with multiple microphones, rows of chairs/tables for seating, and a food station consisting of chicken, shrimp, other snacks and drinks. The lights were low and the Riverside Arts Center had art filling the walls of the gallery, creating a warm atmosphere at the event.
Upon entry, Poetry Society members greeted guests and welcomed them to the food and the sign up sheet. Music played before and also in between poems to allow people to move around and converse as they pleased. Inclusiveness filled the room creating an inviting space for people to speak their minds and get thoughts off their chests.
The hosts of the night, Ciera Dozier and Dary’us Bell, added humor to the show. They announced each name before the speaker and eventually, they too, both recited some of their own poems.
Over 25 were spoken throughout the night. Words were spoken on racism, abuse, death of a loved one, suicide, relationships, love, sex, and more. Snaps and applause were used to show appreciation and respect to artists throughout the night.
Poetry Society President Shayla Card-Nowlin gave the first poem. She referenced current suicide and the change that she felt needs to come.
“I really do wonder, when are we going to stop breaking news and begin to break cycles,“ Card-Nowlin said in her poem.
Many people outside of EMU students attended and spoke their poetry. The open mic night brought community members closer together and allowed for guests to emotionally bond and help heal one another.
“I think these events are important because as a student organization, yes, we have stations on campus, but we exist outside of campus. I think this is a great and important part of serving our community, to go out and engage with people. Within my first 30 minutes at this open mic, I met people that I did not know, who live in the community. So, it is nice to acknowledge that we do go to EMU, but there is a whole world outside of us and we should engage with them, share our art with them, inspire them and invite them to do art with us,” Card-Nowlin said.
Ciera Dozier, EMU Poetry Society member, explained that after she shared one of her poems at one of the EMU Poetry Society’s "Lyric Lounge” events, she knew she had to join. She furthered added that everyone was very accepting, encouraging and loving to her, just as they were on Tuesdays open mic. Dozier reflected on the postitive effects reciting her poetry has had on her.
“No matter how long you do it, you will get nervous, but you just have to breathe. Afterwards, you feel accomplished. You feel like you did something, like you're closer to your goal. Poetry is my life and it definitely saved my life in a lot of ways. It is more than an art to me, it is a part of me, kind of like a second thump to my heartbeat,” Dozier said.
For more information on how to get involved with EMU’s Poetry Society, visit their Instagram or Twitter: @EMU_PS