Original Post Date April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM
The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part one of a three part installment. The freeing energy that is the Open Mic experience. Snaps, snaps, snaps!
The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month.This blog will celebrate poets and poetry this month in a three part series.
Imagine walking onto a stage, facing a sea of discontented, uninterested faces. Some are attached to bodies with ambivalent arms folded tightly across their chests. When you announce your name into the microphone, you’re greeted with a sea of disdainful groans. You spend the next five excruciating minutes of your life trying to convince these people you are not the enemy, but for every second you appear before them, you increasingly are. You’re not allowed to depart the stage until loaded questions are hurled upon you, harpoons of cynicism pierce you, and the unflattering photograph is taken.
Imagine waking up the next day, to find your unflattering photo captioned with a misinterpreted soundbite as first page news, and your supervisor blowing up your phone, prepared for a discussion on “best practices.”
Yup. That was me not too long ago. Days like that would keep any sane person away from a microphone, a stage, heck, from people altogether!
I poet. I speak words that are loosely formatted but convey a thought, an emotion, an image. I express myself in a manner that makes me feel whole. Poetry does that for many people. And many people here in the Saint Petersburg area are really, really good at expressing themselves.
My writing partner and I have been open mic’ing (if that’s the verb?) and are pleasantly experiencing dynamic synergy amongst local artists. Open mics aren’t just for poets. There are musicians, comedians, storytellers, and even interpretive dancers. It’s a do-what-you-like-and-be-adored-for-it kind of atmosphere. For me, it’s healing and it’s great practice for the upcoming book readings. And you know what? It’s getting to be a bit addictive too.
Whatever inhibitions you think you may have about performing your art in front of an audience, toss them aside and join in on the fun. When you say your name into the mic, everyone cheers. When you perform your set, you’ll be encouraged by smiles. And when you leave the stage, people will look forward to hearing from you again. Ready to get started? Here’s two venues with upcoming events:
APRIL 17 7pm-9pm: Open Mic Night at Irene’s – St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, 3747 34th St S, St Pete, 33711
APRIL 23 7pm-10pm: Open Mic Tuesday – Crum’s Bar and Grill – 2924 5th Ave N, St Pete, 33713