Expanding interest charges Poetry Night

Students grabbed the wooden podium under the spotlight as they read words off their pages.

The Writing Center hosted its bi-annual Poetry Night Feb. 6 in the Cellar of the A Building.

Participants read works varying from favorite authors to works of their own.

The event was promoted through email, fliers and word of mouth.

Professor Mark Bergmooser offered extra credit to students who attended and presented a poem, which prompted Alex Kuhn to attend and read Emily Dickinson’s “A Word.”

“Some people think how when you’re speaking a word that it automatically dies,” Kuhn said when asked why she chose the poem. “Whereas she says that it becomes alive.”

Leela Abrams reads her poem “The Crush” to the audience at Poetry Night.

Dickinson was a popular poet read aloud during the event, second only to Erin Hansen.

Multiple students started out reading mostly Hansen’s work, including student Keegan Mielke. A specific untitled work from Hansen was chosen by Mielke because of its theme of self-love.

Professor Lori Jo Couch, administrator of the event, quickly noted Hansen’s reappearances early on in the event. Couch asked a question in regards to Hansen’s popularity.

Attendees explained the reoccurring appearance as many of them liked Hansen’s contemporary and modern writing style.

The first half of the event was met with a slow start in participation from the audience, with an early intermission being called 20 minutes into the event. During the intermission, a larger group of students started showing up.

With free snacks open to attendees and a larger crowd present, more people began signing up to read themselves.

Student Rose Tibai didn’t plan on reading any poems before the night began, and said she would consider reading one next Poetry Night.

However, when the second half began she signed up, and read John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud,” which she had memorized for school years prior.

Other students read their own created poems about love.

Maria Laurell read a love poem she had written when she was 13.

Some religious themes were tied into the main topic of the night.

“Footprints in the Sand,” a poem about walking with God for reassurance of life, was read at one point.

Writing Fellow Brittanie Bruck also read her original poem titled “Courage.”

The piece was inspired by C.S. Lewis saying that courage isn’t just a virtue but, at the testing point, every virtue.

“It seemed like it would turn into a bit of a prayer, like a battle cry kind of prayer,” she said.

Students’ creative expressions ranged from poems to songs, and overall diversity and openness grew through the night’s atmosphere.

Leela Abrams, a recent poet, read two original works titled “Lover” and “The Crush.”

Abrams started writing poetry last October around the previous Poetry Night, and has since written poems weekly. Now she is approaching 50 pieces of self-written literature.

“The Lover” Abrams said was with the possibilities of being in a relationship or even falling in love in the future.

“The Crush” tells of someone who likes the reader, with the reader being hesitant for a long while. It isn’t until they reciprocate the feelings that they realize the one who expressed interest had already moved on for someone else. The poem was based off a personal experience of Abrams.

Despite what Abrams calls her “demanding presence,” she still has nerves when reading her work in front of people.

However, she said the people in the audience are in the same position.

“Do not be afraid of what you have to say, because what you have to say is very important,” she said. “… they’re (the audience) here to listen to your story, your words, and your expression of yourself.”