After what always feels like a too long though unusually clement winter, springtime is indeed upon us. And with the springtime flowers, local, creative, and cultural events have been popping up! During National Poetry Month, what better way to celebrate than by attending the most recent Open Mic, which took place on the first day of April?
Held at The Somers Library, sponsor of confetti, this open-to-the-public event draws a crowd of between 25–40 participants. The Open Mic is the offshoot of a writing group led by Kathy Neggers called We are the Poets which began in 2015 and comprises sixteen members who all hail from the Westchester area. Kathy, who writes under the pen name Burns, began planning the event in January, and with the other members of We are the Poets, look forward to its continuation into the future, especially as word spreads of poetry and performance.
We are the Poets meets regularly and held their sessions via Zoom in 2020 but have since resumed an in-person format. Their group encourages members to share their poetry. At each meeting, poets take turns reading their own work, then recite each other’s. Kathy shares, “This style offers feedback in a friendly, non-critical setting, in which writers feel free to share the vulnerability inherent in this creative endeavor,” and that the focus is on “enjoying the garden and ignoring the weeds.”
The Open Mic affords a similar comfortable, casual setting for sharing the flowers of poetry. Poets of all ages and poetic styles read one to three original pieces, depending upon allotted time and size of the crowd. Applause is gracious and supportive—the audience recognizing the sums of courage one must muster to approach the podium—though several “seasoned” poets make sharing their art look easy.
When finished reading or performing, poets often display looks of calm, pride, (perhaps a bit of relief!) and even contentment on their faces because of the images, ideas, beliefs, and emotions they’ve just openly shared with all in attendance.
At the conclusion of the presentations, many people stay a while, engaging in conversation and enjoying refreshments offered in the spacious room.
All in all, it’s a great time—full of energy and shared enthusiasm for the unique art of poetry.
Do yourself a favor and attend the next open mic in your area. Better yet, share your art! You will undoubtedly delight and enlighten others with your words, meet kindred spirits, and surprise yourself with your own talent.
~ Lisa O’Neil Guerci
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