Student-poets celebrate poetry open mic anniversary

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A year ago, a couple guys with the same dream began a revolution in the name of poetry and local art within the confines of a small Provo apartment.

Today commemorates the one-year anniversary of poetry open mic night at the cozy Coffee Pod in Provo, 426 W. 1230 North.

The brainchild of Conner Bassett and Jack Murphy, two BYU seniors, poetry open mic night is a time for fans and artists alike to gather every other Thursday at 8 p.m. to watch and have the opportunity to perform.

“There wasn’t anything like this, so we decided to start it,” Murphy said.”I believe the arts are the foundation of a stronger community.”

What once started as a small gathering grew into quite a popular trend event in Provo, and the place to be every other Thursday night.

“We attended a bunch of open mic nights at the Coffee Pod, Muse Music and other venues,” Bassett said. “None of it was quite what we wanted to do. We got the idea to start an open mic night that was based entirely on poetry. It started in our apartment. We invited our friends, sat them down on couches and read our poetry to them.”

While Bassett and Murphy are fairly experienced poets, they insist their open mic nights are not exclusive.

“It’s a great opportunity for those just starting out in the realm of poetry,” Bassett said. “The atmosphere is really friendly and open. Everyone is very nice if you are apprehensive about reading for the first time.”

The event maintains a rather wide audience, which ranges from poetic hopefuls to those who simply have an appreciation for local art.

“One of the great things about open mic night is that there is not a specific type of person that comes,” Bassett said. “The initial crowd that was drawn were aspiring poets. It’s extended itself to artists in general, and admirers of art.”

Brice Peterson, 23, a senior from Orem and another contributor to the poetry open mic night events, said there will be a special bonus benefit for those attending this week’s one-year anniversary event.

“Conner came up with the idea of starting a ‘zine’, which is like a little magazine or journal,” Peterson said. “The very first edition will be coming out that night. What that does is takes local artists and their poems that are outstanding, and then we publish it. We also have a podcast that goes along with the zine, that talks about the poetry.”

Those who haven’t yet made it to the Coffee Pod to enjoy poetry won’t want to miss this particular open mic night, Peterson said.

“Honestly, I think everyone has a bucket list,” he said. “Who doesn’t dream about going to a Dead Poet Society thing, with the clicking, the coffee smell and the dim lights. If you want to have a bucket list experience, come to open mic night.”

The poetry open mic night podcast can be found at provopoetry.org.

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