Storm the Mic offers weekly poets opportunity to read aloud

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Students can expect dimmed lights, a spotlighted stage, and poetry ranging from slam to spiritual at Storm the Mic, a poetry open mic night. 

Storm the Mic, held every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Jazzy’s Rock N Roll Grill, began the fall semester of 2010 by English instructor Darren Edwards and former faculty member Chelsi Sutton. 

Readers sign up for a performance slot and have seven minutes to read their original material. However, readers are always welcome to “storm the mic,” or jump on stage to read without signing up, at the end of the night.

Storm the Mic originally targeted students but has since grown into a weekly community event. Reader and DSC graduate Erika Larsen, who has attended Storm the Mic since it began, said the move to Jazzy’s has contributed to the growth.

“[Jazzy’s Rock N Roll Grill] fosters a particular environment that is conducive to this kind of project,” Larsen said. “It already has a following as a venue. Having a venue like this makes outside people, who might not know what this kind of event is like, already interested.” 

Edwards said attendance exploded in fall 2012 with the addition of regular readers who consistently provided audiences with quality material.

Larsen said a big influx of English majors, both current and former, has contributed to the growth as well.

Edwards agreed and said: “All of that adds to the regular batch, and so it’s been much more consistent because of that. The people have bought into it.”

While everybody is encouraged to read, those who don’t are still necessary attendants. Reader and local resident Ryan Rutkoskie said having an audience is vital.

“People want to have an audience,” he said. “We want somebody other than just the people that are reading to hear it and respond to it. It’s an important part of performance poetry for a response.”

Larsen said listening is as beneficial as reading because it still fosters creativity. She said personally she always walks away inspired after participating in creative writing events.

She said: “It expands the mind; you get other people’s perspectives.”

Larsen points to a common theme that punctuates the readings at Storm the Mic as evidence for the power of multiple perspectives: religion.

“How great is it to hear about religion, in general because we hear about it a lot, from six different perspectives?” she said. “Poetry and writing is a really intimate way to look at someone’s perspective.”

Edwards said Storm the Mic has helped to create a writing community in St. George.

“Writing ends up being such a solitary thing, and we want to lock ourselves way in our rooms like Emily Dickinson and shut off from the world,” he said. “There is a place for that, a time for that, in writing. But it’s really healthy to know you’re a part of a community, to go and hear other voices and share your work with them, and to get that sense of support that you’re not in this alone.”