I went to, and performed in the Greyhound Collective Poetry Revival’s Loyola Rising last Monday night. I think it was a great event to end the semester on, and the blog as well. Initially, I was nervous because although I do attend the meetings, I am still a freshman and quite honestly don’t think my poetry is up to par compared to some of the other people in the group. I had been to poetry slam’s before, but never in this size. Originally, in the meetings, I thought there were going to be at most 25 people there. I looked up the event on Facebook, however, to see that 185 people said they were going to attend, and an additional 170 people might attend. I used to lector at the masses at my church back home, so I have been used to reading aloud to mass amounts of people, I was just a little apprehensive because what I was going to read was a part of me, not just verses from the Bible.
I went to Loyola Rising alone, it was the day before the last day of classes and most of my friends had either already left or had a lot of work due on the next day. I wasn’t bothered, though, because I was hoping I wouldn’t see too many people there who knew who I was. Luckily, I didn’t see many people I knew, so I got to lay relatively low throughout the night. There were a few people who went before me, and I heard the fear in their voices. It made me get secondhand-nervousness, if that’s even a term, because of what they were going through. When my name was called I managed to get up off the floor, from where I was sitting, and up to the mike. It was awkward, though, because a bunch of people had just come in and I had to wait for everyone to settle. I was just silently being my awkward self in front of a lot of people, all eyes on me. I had a feeling the mike wasn’t working properly, but I started anyway. I smiled politely, introduced myself, and read my title. “The Tango,” I began. I felt like I stammered it a bit, though and I was disappointed in myself. I read the rest of my poem without problem, and people clapped as I sat down. I felt so much better after it was over, and I was able to listen to everyone else’s work.
Sitting and listening to people singing and speaking their own works put a smile on my face that no one could take away. I honestly was so happy after hearing each and every poem and song because I know that all of these people put their hearts and souls into their works, just like I do. There is something so vulnerable about reading or singing your works in front of masses of people. It’s almost as if you’re showing people a side of you that no one else gets to see. Poetry allows for this intimate relationship between the author/speaker and the reader, which enables the reader to relate to the situations in the poems. I feel that most, if not all, of the poems we have read this year in class have been relatable in some way. It could have been one phrase, a stanza, or the entire poem, but in one way or another each and every poem has affected all of us. Poetry is powerful, and hearing people get all worked up over their poetry, as some of the performers did, proves that. Sure, we may not know what it’s like to watch someone you want to have sex with squash a flea in front of our eyes, completely know the rhythm of Papa’s Waltz, nor comprehend completely the sexual tension between Shane and Marian, but there will always be relatable situations within poetry, and prose, that allows us to connect with these speakers and characters, time after time.