Spitshine Poetry, the only poetry club on campus, hosted an open mic night Wednesday where students were free to come and share their own work to an audience of students and other poets.
“I’ve never done it before,” music composition senior Jocelyn Chambers said. “I’m freaking out.”
Those who attended ranged from first-timers to experienced poets, while others came to observe.
Psychology sophomore Marisol Chavez said she was “observing poetry for the first time.”
“It’s a great safe space where people feel good about expressing their emotions,” Chavez said. “It relieves stress and helps the feelings stuck inside.”
When asked about whether she would be performing next time, Chavez responded with “definitely.”
“It’s empowering to express myself in art,” Chavez said. “I do a lot of visual art, but verbal is hard. The great thing is that it’s okay to express and see others feeling what I’m feeling here.”
When asked why poets like slam, club organizer Mah-Ro Khan, a biology junior, said half of the poets are performing to express themselves while the other half are performing “for the people they’ve met.”
“It’s helpful to write out what you are feeling, for others to see it and for others empathize,” Khan said. “Everyone comes together as a community and supports each other.”
Spitshine Poetry hosts weekly writing workshop for people of all levels. The club provides writing prompts, and poets are welcomed to share their work, if they want to. They also host an open mic once a month.
“I think it’s a good creative atmosphere to express (yourself)in a safe place, outlet and gives beginning poets some confidence,” said communication studies freshman Abby Goertz.
As the only club of its kind on campus, Spitshine Poetry recently sent five of their members to College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, a national poetry slam competition. Still, Khan wants to emphasize that poets from all levels are welcome.
The club has a feature for every open mic. Wednesday’s feature was Austin native Zai Sadler. Some of her work includes For Brown Boys, a sociopolitical analysis of the current day. She regularly performs at the Austin Poetry Slam, a weekly event held on Tuesdays at Spiderhouse Ballroom.
The group’s next open mic is on Feb. 8 at 6:45 p.m., at the Student Activity Center black box theater.