Arts & Life, Events

Poet’s Lounge offers students an outlet to express themselves

The University Student Union Sunset Lounge was filled with intensity, laughter and the sounds of fingers snapping as both first-time performers and regular poets expressed their deepest emotions through originally written works.

Beach Pride Events hosted this semester’s first Poet’s Lounge Thursday night. Poet’s Lounge is an open mic program where students and guests are invited to showcase their talents through poetry, spoken word and songs in an intimate and welcoming setting.

Admission is free to the general public and anyone is able to perform or sit in and enjoy the fun atmosphere while indulging in fruit, cookies and hot chocolate.

“Beach Pride Events hopes that Poet’s Lounge creates a safe space for students to share their talents and meet people who might have similar interests or talents,” Beach Pride Events coordinator, Parker Chalmers said. “Poet’s Lounge has been a space for students to express themselves freely. Students often perform spoken word poetry, sing, tell jokes and basically just about anything that lets them be themselves while receiving support from fellow students.”

While some took the stage for the first time, others showed experience shedding their emotions into the microphone.

One of the poets was freshman, psychology major Brianna Williams who performed raps titled “Millennials Masquerade” and “Got It Bads.” Some artists that influence Williams are Tupac, J. Cole and Erykah Badu.

“I have been writing poetry since I was 11,” Williams said. “I used to go to open mic in Leimert. I have done raps and referenced different songs. My poem “Millennial’s Masquerade” is about the millennial generation struggling to defy societal norm and being their truest self. My poem “Got it Bads” is a reference to the song by “U Got it Bad” where I needed a homecoming date to stunt on people at my school and wound up falling madly in love with the person who took me to homecoming, due to how extraordinary he treated me.”

Another participant in Poet’s Lounge was Aldo Moreno, a transfer student who said his writing is inspired by people and things he encounters in his daily life, which he then translates into his work.

“Usually, I get inspired from experiences I’ve had with people and I start thinking about them later on,” Moreno said. “The person who first inspired me was musician Lou Reed.”

USU Marketing Manager Aaron Elimelech, started the event in 1997. He thought students would benefit from a program like this on campus after being inspired by the film “Love Jones.”

”We really wanted to encourage an open environment where everyone was welcome to express themselves without judgment,” Elimelech said. “I thought it was a cool opportunity for people musical or not to have this experience.”

His hope for the event has come true for the most part, as students have taken to the night as a way to unwind and sometimes, promote original works in progress.

“Paradise Lane,” a Poet’s Lounge regular, performed his rap song, “Bully Gangster” and received positive feedback from the audience as they clapped and moved along with the rhythm of the song’s beat.

“I’m currently writing an album and hopefully I have that done in a short while,” said “Paradise Lane.” “Hopefully that song, “Bully Gangster,” will be on my album.”

Poet’s Lounge event will take place the third Thursday of each month with the next Poet’s Lounge on Oct. 18 and the last one on Nov. 15.

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