On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the ESA hosted their biannual Poetry Out Loud event in Pond Inlet, allowing students and staff to perform their favourite pieces of poetry in a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.
There is no fixed set list and no itinerary. It is a very organic experience, with the participants taking turns reading both original and previously composed works. To help with the process of breaking the ice, the English Students’ Association (ESA) provided a table full of various poetry books and anthologies that people could read from to warm up before performing something original. Poetry Out Loud helps to expand upon the poetry studied in the academic realm, and to explore the many unconventional styles and forms that it can be shaped into.
“It is a nice night for faculty, peers and students to mingle. It is an English inspired event with a very social atmosphere and has been a tradition in the English department. It gives the chance to read unique, original and non-academic poems,” says Kaitlyn Daw, President of the ESA.
Emphasizing the social atmosphere, what makes this event so unique is the participation of both students and staff alike. The ESA is not a BUSU ratified club, but functions through the Department of English Language and Literature, which means that despite having a lack of funding, they have cultivated and maintained a strong rapport with the faculty members of the department
The executive members of the ESA see this cohesiveness between faculty and students as a major benefit, as it allows for the students to see their professors as approachable and engaging, not as the larger than life, intellectually intimidating academics that they are often perceived to be. Many of Brock’s English professors attend Poetry Out Loud events, with last weeks’ session seeing Professors Andrew Pendakis and Adam Dickinson, the latter a finalist for the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Poetry.
Attendees are not required to read a poem or perform, though students are encouraged to give it the old college try. At its core, Poetry Out Loud is about enjoying the art of poetry and all that comes with it, welcoming people from all disciplines and fields to experience what the event has to offer. Some people, who initially come to the event as silent viewers, may soon find themselves behind the microphone, compelled to read a poem to the warm, inviting group of poetic aficionados.
“Poetry Out Loud allowed me to explore the depth and different styles that people enjoy,” said Daw. “You never know what you’re going to get and that’s what I love about it!”
If you missed the first event, never fear, for Poetry Out Loud runs twice a year. They will be hosting their second event off-campus in second semester. Check out the ESA Facebook page to stay updated about upcoming events.