Last Friday, October 22, the Barge Canal Coffee Company opened its doors for something a little different: a poetry reading.
“Not the first one, but the first one in a really long time,” in the words of the event’s host, first-year Dom Burek.
The Barge’s Open Mic Nights each Friday have traditionally included both musical and spoken word performances. Starting this past Friday, the Barge will now devote the third Friday of each month to poetry.
Burek started the night off with a piece of slam poetry. She followed this piece with two original works. The latter, inspired by a newspaper article, took its form from the six steps of suicide. Burek seemed a bit nervous in her joint position as host and poet, but she also seemed confident in that she knew exactly what she wanted to say. More than anything else, her excitement and enthusiasm for the event shone through.
First-year April Bailey, a veteran of Open Mic Nights, performed next, hopping onstage with an exuberant “Yay for poetry!” She first read a piece by her sister, Jessica Bailey, and then read her own original work. Swaying slightly and illustrating her words with hand motions, Bailey brought a precise intonation to each word.
Next, sophomore Will Hazzard, the usual host of the Open Mic Nights, opted to sit down, rifling through a journal to read some older and some more recent original pieces. The first, “Children’s Toys,” reflected on the happiness of childhood, while “Girl on the Balcony,” “Untitled” and “The Wind” moved on to more mature topics.
Joey Harrison followed Hazzard for his first time performing poetry instead of music. His first two poems were adapted from the form of Shakespearean sonnets. The first poem was about the end of the world, while the second was directed toward someone he strongly dislikes.
Greg Mcbain, a member of the community, came next, explaining, “I’m not a poet, but last week this poem just came to me.” He also recited a haiku, quipping, “Don’t count the syllables.”
The final poet of the night was first-year Claire Littlefield, who came onstage cheerfully pointing out that her poem was written on a napkin. The poem, “Peanuts,” used the cartoon of the same name and peanut butter to humorously explain Littlefield’s feelings toward a high school crush.
At this point, Burek came back onto the stage and offered the microphone to anyone interested in performing. Harrison returned to the stage to play piano and sing vocals on an untitled song he had only written a few days beforehand.
The song ended suddenly as Harrison explained with a laugh, “I don’t have an ending yet.”
There is no end in sight for the Barge’s poetry readings, either. Next month will bring the second Friday poetry reading, which fans can look forward to, knowing that the series started off strong and will surely only get stronger.