With a calendar filled with theater productions, concerts, and poetry slams, it’s no secret that Wesleyan’s campus is a hotbed of performing arts activity. In anticipation of tonight’s poetry and music open mic, host Kate Weiner ’15 answers a few questions about its preparation, her own poetry, and the presence (or absence; stay tuned to find out!) of food at the event. Writers, musicians, and anyone in between can stop by 200 Church tonight at 7 p.m. to share their work and hear other artists do the same.
The Argus: Can you tell me a little about the setup and structure of open mics?
Kate Weiner: The open mics are an opportunity for writers, slam poets, artists, and musicians to share their creative work. We did some open mics last semester as well and invited all of our friends and members of Writers Bloc and WeSlam and basically whoever else to join! It’s really fun, and it’s nice to have a very casual setting to share your stuff.
A: Is there usually a big turnout for these types of events?
KW: We’ve had open mics with 40 people that were really fun, and one open mic one time that was four people, but that also was really fun!
A: Are WeSlam [Wesleyan’s slam poetry collective] and open mics related? Does WeSlam sponsor open mics?
KW: WeSlam doesn’t exactly sponsor the open mics, but I’m involved with WeSlam on campus, and so Lily [Myers ’15], who’s also co-hosting the event, and I get advice from our friends. I got involved in open mics because I loved slamming but thought it was nice to share my poetry in a less intense atmosphere—especially because we have cookies!
A: How has your involvement with WeSlam influenced your experience at Wes so far?
KW: I love everyone from WeSlam so, so much. It’s wonderful because you hear these people’s poetry and they are just amazing, and then when you actually hang with them you feel like you already have this emotional connection. Everyone’s very open and supportive, which means a lot, because I haven’t even slammed this year! But I still feel part of the community.
A: Do you see yourself continuing to write poetry throughout college?
A: What would you say are the best and worst poems you’ve ever written or performed?
KW: I wrote a poem about not saying how I feel to people I am in a relationship with during a freewrite at Writer’s Bloc. It was the best poem, not because it was really well written, but because it let me sort through these emotions I had been very hesitant to explore. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I have a hard time being honest or vulnerable that way. When I read the poem aloud, I realized how deeply I felt it. I write bad poems all the time. But then that makes a poem you’re proud of even sweeter! It’s important, I think, to just throw everything out there and let it be. One of the best things I’ve learned from going to so many writing workshops is not to self-edit the first draft. Some stuff will be really bad, and you can laugh about it later, but how will you get better if you don’t just write?
A: So will you be performing on Tuesday?
A: What advice would you give to freshmen and/or poets who are too shy to slam or participate in open mics?
KW: Come to the open mic! It’s very welcoming and zero-pressure. You can share any skill you have, truly, and we will love you for it. Also, as someone who is very shy when it comes to sharing personal poems, once you’ve expressed a deep thought to an audience, you will feel like you have crossed this bridge. It’s so freeing.
A: On the Facebook event, you hesitantly promised the audience cookies. How likely is it that cookies will actually be provided?
KW: Very likely! I have been looking forward to making cookies as much as I have to hearing people’s stuff.