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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

CAB open mic event fosters creativity

GVL | Risho Wooten

Grand Valley State University’s Campus Activities Board (CAB) held an open mic poetry event on Feb. 16 for students to come and share their work in a creative and welcoming space. 

Writing prompts and notepads were laid out on tables for students to use, while students were also encouraged to bring in their poems to read aloud. CAB aimed to set the mood by turning off the overhead lights, and instead lighting the room with only the moonlight from the windows and fake candles. 

After each poem or story, the audience snapped their fingers, a customary substitute for clapping at open mic events. The group of students then took about 20 minutes to draft poems based on writing prompts. People who were willing to share their work then read aloud. 

Students wrote about a range of topics including fictional stories, relationships and life experiences. Poems ranged from a few short lines to multiple minutes in length.

When it came to deciding what poems or stories to share, students said they shared pieces that they thought could be relatable to others in attendance. 

“I thought tonight is a small crowd, so why not just share it and perhaps somebody will relate to it,'” said GVSU student Kaneigha Embury, in reference to the poems she read aloud.

Embury warmed up the crowd by sharing her poems early on in the event. She said usually she writes poems when she needs to get the words out of her head and into writing. 

“Poetry is scrambled thoughts that I’m able to put in a way that makes sense to other people,” Embury said.

One poem Embury read, titled “Momma,” talked about her experience of coming out to her parents and how she navigates their relationship now that she feels she can be more open. Embury said she would like to publish a poetry book in the future. 

Landon Bartlett, a CAB director who helped put on the event, said they wanted to bring a different atmosphere to CAB events, compared to activities that are usually put on. They said many CAB events have loud music and a large crowd. For this event, the organization aimed to create a space for students who prefer an intimate setting and a more relaxed atmosphere. Additionally, they wanted to create a space for writers to express themselves.

“Even if it’s just a group of ten people, I think it’s really important to accommodate writers and creative spirits in our community,” Bartlett said. “I think for a lot of experienced writers, it’s important for them to know there is a sense of a community here at Grand Valley. For newer students or people who aren’t as experienced with reading and writing (the event helps students) figure out what they like about reading and writing or figuring out a new hobby within their creative self.” 

Bartlett shared a few of their own poems at the event, including a short story. Bartlett said poetry and writing allow them to capture human experiences. 

“I think it’s a really good example of just human perception of living,” Bartlett said. “It’s a nice way for people to show their own perception of the world around them.” 

Bartlett said CAB would like to bring back the event and continue to build a sense of community for students with a passion for writing.

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