LBCC’s Poetry Club’s Annual Word Mob Encourages Poems to be Shared
Illuminated by the warm glow of the dimmed lights, the open stage had an inviting presence to the single mic placed in the center of the stage, tempting any eager poet to share their work with the crowd of willing listeners.
LBCC’s Poetry Club puts on an event each term to represent their club members and provide them with a platform to present a few of their best and favorite poems. For winter term, the Poetry Club held its annual Word Mob in the Benton Center on Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The first 30 minutes were dedicated to the students involved in the poetry club to read any original poem they felt needed to be expressed. The second half of the night, the stage opened up to other LBCC students or community members to take the time to share their work for other people to interpret and enjoy.
Students such as Kali Brickley took advantage of the night and used the stage to read her poem about her hometown and childhood memories. With two terms under her belt, Brickley plans to graduate with an English degree. She started using writing as an outlet when she was 12 years old to express herself in places where she felt she couldn’t. She has performed at open mics in Portland and Corvallis, and uses events like Friday’s Word Mob as an opportunity to practice her public speaking skills.
“It’s more of a space on the page that’s sacred just to understand who I am and who I’m becoming,” said Brickley.
Brickley left the stage on a wave of encouragement from the zealous audience after performing her piece. “I think it’s connecting to yourself and just showing that to other people, making yourself vulnerable, making that human connection and keeping that alive,” she concluded.
Also attending the event was Mark Weiss, a professor at LBCC going on his fourth year teaching psychology as well as child development. In addition to being a teacher, he has also been a counselor at LBCC for 27 years and is one of six members of the poet laureate advisory committee.
According to Weiss, LBCC is the only community college in the country to have a student poet laureate in which a selected member travels to spread their poems in order to inspire others to pick up a pen and paper and start writing. This year’s nominated student poet laureate is Kel O’Callaghan, who has the responsibility of passing on the concept of how relevant poetry and writing is, even in modern-day and age. It truly is an art form that allows a person to release tension, boggled thoughts, stuffed emotions, or even some light jokes with complete creative freedom through the hand of the author.
“The purpose of the event is to enjoy poetry. It’s that simple. We think poetry is very important in life and contributes to the enrichment of people, so we want to see it promoted and want people to experience it,” Weiss comments.
The participants were encouraged to keep their poems down to a few minutes without any limitation of how many they can read. Although the event was scheduled to be an hour long, the crowd was welcoming. Stagefright was nowhere to be found in any person in the room leading the event to go over-time. The thirst to hear other people’s deep profound expressions quickly crushed any hint of judgment, leading to almost every person in the audience that attended the open mic to go on stage at least one time.
“Take a deep breath and know that in the history of your life it’s not a very big deal,” Weiss suggests to anyone that might feel any stage fright or uncertainty. It is important to keep writing as a poet or writer and to recognize that poems are a reflection of your own genuine feelings so it can never be correctly criticized.
For information of when and where the Poetry Club meets, contact Instructor Tristan Striker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story and Photos by Mckenna Christmas