Poetry inspires creative drive

Poetry Slam brings writers, poets together near Library fireplace

English professor Ben Jahn walks up to the podium to perform an artistic piece by the fireplace in the Library and Learning Resource Center during the annual Poetry Slam on April 12.

By Isaac Resendiz, Advocate Staff

Literary writers and supporters banded together on April 12, to present and appreciate one another’s creative writing in an intimate corner of the Library.

During the poetry reading and open-mic events, there were pieces that touched on topics such as Contra Costa College’s 60th anniversary, a surprising rap performance and a reading from English professor Ben Jahn’s upcoming book.

The many poems and verses kept seats filled most of the time. Before each performer, Library Chairperson Andrew Kuo would give a brief background on the reader, to give the audience an idea of where they are coming from and what they are doing now.

The first speaker was English professor Jeffery Michaels, who read a very memorable poem he had written for CCC for its 60th anniversary.

Being a reoccurring guest in these events, Michaels wished for a better turn out. “Poetry is a club. The same people who read poetry write poetry,” Michaels said, “Unlike essays where we teach you right from wrong, there is no right or wrong in creative writing.”

Michaels also talked about the events where those who read poems got to smash a pot near the Art Building.

Medical major Jane Menjivar said, “Events like these should happen more often.”

Octavio Herrera, undecided, still comes to many of the literary events that the Library holds, though there was a smaller group than the last poetry event. “I remember hearing about veterans coming in and talking about the book The Things They Carried.  They should have more events like that,” he said.

Herrera was one of the most memorable to the audience, out of the lot of readers, due to his piece during the open-mic, when he performed “Blood Sandwich” by Aesop Rock. The performance was especially memorable to Michaels and speech professor Randy Carver.

Carver was only able to make it to the last few performances, but still enjoyed what he saw. “I look forward to this. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent brought up in events like these. It’s a great event.”

There was even a surprise appearance of the award-winning author Rafaella Del Bourgo, who regaled the audience with her sensual and descriptive poems about love, lust and her days while living with a friend and her dog in Point Reyes. With the seats that were originally set in the corner filled, with the exception of a couple chairs from nearby tables, the readings raised a high amount of inspiration and excitement for the next poetry event.