Spoken Word, an open mic event for students to share their poetry, will say goodbye to its home at the Rathskeller this coming Wednesday, which is already bringing a sense of nostalgia to student poets at the University of Miami.
Senior Uduak Bassey remembers attending and speaking at Spoken Word nights since her sophomore year.
“I would go on YouTube to listen to poets, and I wanted others to hear them,” she said.
Bassey is now chair of the Rathskeller Advisory Board for Spoken Word for the 2008-2009 school year.
“It’s exciting for me because I’m actually trying to get students involved in what Spoken Word is – a positive medium for self expression,” she said.
Joe Braun, a junior, said poetry spoken out loud is generally composed in a different way than written poetry.
“When vocalized, poetry reaches people in a different manner than in literature,” he said.
Senior Billy King, from West Virginia, is grateful for the opportunity to communicate through poetry on campus.
“I’m really happy we have something like this here,” King said. “I want people to relate to me, and it’s all just a matter of trying to say how you feel in the spotlight. You never know when someone will be affected by your words.”
Spoken Word takes place on the second Wednesday of every month from 8 to 10 p.m. This semester the event has included a guest-traveling poet and also a featured student poet from UM.
“In past years, some students have opened up for the main feature, but I wanted Spoken Word to be a more integral part of campus life,” Bassey said. “I decided to make student features permanent.”
Junior James Patrick is November’s featured student poet, and Bridget Gray is the featured traveling poet.
Patrick said he is excited to perform and looks forward to the opportunity to relay a message through words he is “graced to use.”
The previous Spoken Word on Oct. 8 featured student poet Asia Davis and guest feature Oveous Maximus.
“The atmosphere was really alive,” Braun said. “There weren’t seats left. People were sitting on the ground and standing up against the wall.”
Students interested in speaking can sign up at the Rathskeller on the day of the event, Nov. 12, starting at 7 p.m.
Poetry can be on any topic, from the frustrations of society to relationships or politics.
“We all have different themes in poetry, but audiences receive them in different ways,” said Patrick, adding that subject matter and the words spoken are not the only things to consider when performing spoken word. “Word play, rhythm and your delivery are extremely important as well.”
The location of Spoken Word following the closing of the Rathskeller has not yet been determined.
“There are a lot of ideas being thrown around as to where the next events in general at the Rat will be,” Bassey said.
Braun said he has heard talk of moving Spoken Word to the Rock.
“I think it would be an entirely different atmosphere, but that’s the beautiful thing about poetry – it adapts to the surroundings,” he said