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Word Mob Takes Over Benton Center: Corvallis Poets Share Their Work at LB Poetry Event

Photo by Floria Mitchell

Long after many of the students and staff of the Benton Center had left, writers and admirers of local poetry gathered in the student common area. Rows of chairs and tables of refreshments had been arranged, and among the warm, low lights of the darkened building, friends and colleagues found relief from the cold February night.

A name is read, and a person steps up to the open microphone. Often, they’re a student, sometimes staff, in a few cases even just a Corvallis local, and the crowd listens attentively as they recite a poem. They receive this expression openly, like a gift, shared in confidence. The reader thanks them for their time, takes a seat, and another name is read from the sign-up sheet.

On Feb. 15, the LBCC Poetry Club held the Word Mob at the Benton Center in Corvallis. All members of the community were invited to share poetry, either their own work or just a piece they appreciate.

Tristan Striker, the new advisor of the Poetry Club, spoke about the importance of the Word Mob. By holding the event as an open forum, the club promotes poetry not just at LBCC, but in the wider community as well, as a tool for expression and connection. “Poetry is one of those beautiful things that allows you to say something very very complicated in a way that everyone can relate to.”

Biology major Kel Callaghan has attended the past three word mobs, and is appreciative of the warm comfortable atmosphere, as well as to see the ways different people express themselves in poetry. For her, poetry is also about finding common ground in universal experiences. “It’s trying to give it form and focus, so someone can say ‘Ah! That’s the feeling, that I know, but never was able to put into words.’”

Jonathan Clough, a Radiology major, talks about how he started writing poetry at the recommendation of a writing professor, and how his poetry is inspired by his experiences as well as by games that impacted him. “They were basically my childhood, they helped me, and they were a big part of how I grew up.”

Story and Photo by Floria Mitchell

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