UNCC students voice their pain and happiness through poetry
On Feb. 24, I was one of the many in attendance of the Open Mic Poetry Night at After Hours. I did not know what to expect; not everyone can write poetry and others don’t know how to recite it. Yet, I was blown away, everyone who got up and performed did a phenomenal job. The show started off with the emcee, introducing himself and reciting some of his poetry. He then gave us a run down on how an open mic works, e.i. when you hear something you like you snap your fingers or exclaim a sound of understanding like “mmm,” or “ooo.”
There were a total of 10 performers, give or take and after each performance the emcee would do anther one of his poems or tell a joke before he introduced the next performer. The show was very diverse, with many different genders, ethnicities, creeds, etc. and they all portrayed different stories in their poems. One performer talked about the loss of his mother, while another talked about the power of the woman. One performer talked about the stereotype society portrays of people and how America forces people of other countries to conform to the “American” way, which in results makes them lose their identity and true sense of self.
But the performer that really had an impact on me, was the young lady who recited a poem about how she tried to commit suicide. I was on the verge of tears listening to it, with myself having some personal experience with the subject. It brought back memories of me attempting the act and the sorrow of having lost a very dear friend to suicide. I know it must have been hard for her and for all of these performers to get up on stage and allow themselves to be judged by their peers, be vulnerable in public and share dark secrets. The show was not all sad. After one young lady’s performance, her boyfriend brought her flowers on stage.
This was my first open mic poetry experience, so I didn’t know how everything works. Do you memorize lines like a play and act them out? Read from a paper? You can do both. There are no rules when it come to poetry open mic, as some people memorized their poems, which personally I liked because the performer could move around and really get into the poem and not have to stop every so often because he missed a line. Others read from a paper or an iPad, which was fine because they were still able to get into the poem and make the audience feel and empathize with what they were saying, even though they did have to say “hold on, I lost my place” a few times. There was even some vulgar words and phrases, which is fine because we are adults and its not like we don’t hear them on a daily basis. This open mic was definitely a must see. It was full of talent, emotions; laughter, sorrow all kinds of feelings and emotions. If there is another open mic make a plan to go, it will really open your eyes and allow you to see talents isn’t always in galleries and played by instruments, it is from the heart.