Students often enjoy Open Mic Nights for comedy and musical talent, but most students don’t realize there is an Open Mic Night for poetry in Provo.
At The Coffee Pod every other Thursday at 8 p.m., Poetry Open Mic Night allows artists and non-artists to come together and express their thoughts, or to simply enjoy local creative talent.
The idea to meet up a few times a month and share poetry came from two BYU students looking for a way to express their artistic talents. Last September, Jack Murphy, a junior from St. Louis studying philosophy and Russian, and Conner Bassett, a junior from Las Vegas studying Russian and comparative literature, decided to find a location to feature the gathering. The Coffee Pod on Bulldog Blvd. and 500 West seemed like the perfect place to allow anybody with an artistic inclination to come and show their talent.
“We’ve both written poetry for a good part of our lives, and we wanted to share that with others and give them an opportunity to express what they have as well,” Murphy said.
The Coffee Pod offers a place for people to relax among friends, meet new people and enjoy a night of the ancient art of poetry reading.
“When reading poetry out loud, you see the poem for what it is; half of the poem is the words, but the other half is the sound of it,” Bassett said. “Reading and hearing it out loud is a completely different experience.”
Bassett said all styles of poetry are encouraged: slam, traditional, free verse, etc.
“Since September of last year, we now average around 30-80 people,” Bassett said. “We even had a night where 120 people came to hear our guest speaker Alex Caldiero, who is known for his avant-garde style; which is a bit more experimental and innovative.”
Brice Peterson, a senior from Orem studying English and Russian, said the reason this poetry night started, and the reason why it has been such a success, is because it supports the local arts and a location for the artistic to show what they can do.
“Local artists have a chance to share what they write in a relaxed environment without a lot of pressure to perform,” Peterson said. “When you write and perform something, you put yourself on the line, and you enjoy the benefit of what you just did.”
As communities participate in the arts, Bassett said, they can substantially progress.
“We want to support the local arts, they are the vehicle to improvement in the local community,” Bassett said.