It Sounds Like They Love Poetry
On the last Wednesday of each month, The Sound, Andrews University’s poetry club, hosts an open mic event where students are free to come and perform spoken word poetry, or simply listen. The Sound’s open mics are usually marked by large audiences and few performers, and this event was no different, with about twelve performers. The event lasted around an hour, and was followed by refreshments while most attendees milled around talking to each other and complimenting the performers’ poetry.
The February open mic’s theme was Love, “because February is the month of love, which is cool for some people,” quipped Anna Gayle (sophomore, communications), cofounder of The Sound. The open mic took place in the cozily decorated recreation center, string lights transforming the small room into a stage and highlighting a clearing where each performer stood facing the audience. Gayle opened the night with a poem to her "fifteen-year-old self, who is about to fall in love for the first time.” Telling her younger self to know the difference between love and being in love, what she thought was her first love and what she eventually realized love was, Gayle differentiated between what love is and is not. To her fifteen-year-old self, she said, “let it be July,” let love be love, and let herself feel what she could.
Following Gayle, Mary Marciniak (sophomore, psychology) performed a poem on the maybe’s of love—the in-betweens, the ambiguity in leaving someone and hoping they miss you too. Marciniak’s voice wavered over the lines, “Maybe it’s because I feel a little alone. Maybe it’s because I know what we are and I know what we never will be, and so I’m clinging to something that I know. I know that something changed. All I know is I miss you and I hope you miss me too," evoking sympathetic murmuring from the audience, who snapped loudly after her performance.
The following portion of the event saw notable performances from Sharyl Cubero (sophomore, biology) and Marialexxa Holman (sophomore, psychology), covering the multifaceted nature of love, and how love is never how it seems. Cubero simply read a journal entry written around 1 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. Mourning the loss of almost-love, or more accurately, only-true-then-love, Cubero spoke about her tumultuous relationship with love as a concept. She spoke about cutting her hair whenever she falls out of love, and not realizing her hair only came to her ears one summer. She spoke about the collateral damage inherent in love, and how once, when she received flowers for Valentine’s Day, she named them and thanked them “because no life should ever die in the name of love.”
Holman’s poem described “the kind of love that could be carried in your pocket,” that is too small to mean much, too one-sided to last truly. Her poignant delivery depicting “love that never saw the light of day” rang with many audience members and evoked a visceral emotional response. Closing the open mic, Dr. Scott Moncrieff (sponsor of The Sound) performed two poems, and thanked all who came for sharing their poetry and supporting the performers.
The performers at The Sound’s February event discussed many kinds of love, from love lost, to love misunderstood, to love misconstrued. There were few poems about lasting love. The Sound’s events, including monthly open mics and poetry workshops, exist to, according to Gayle, “provide people a space, people who maybe have never written or performed poetry, or felt comfortable enough to share their art.,” she continued, speaking on behalf of the other co-founder of The Sound, Antone Huggins (sophomore, pre-physical therapy), “where they felt supported. We’ve had people come up and do poems, people who had never previously thought of performing. For me, at least, that’s the whole point of doing this. It’s letting people know that they’re allowed to create and that there are people there to support them and enjoy what they have to say.”