On April 28th, just before the end of National Poetry Month, Card Carrying Books held its first ever poetry open mic. None of us were sure how the turn out would be, or if there would be anyone other than a handful of us to sign up to read. We were thrilled when we had about 25 in attendance and 10 people reading.
This was my first time ever being an MC for a poetry event and I was a little nervous, but the bookstore is such a safe and welcoming space that I found myself feeling very at home there. I have done quite a few readings in my lifetime in front of crowds of strangers and friends too, but it is something different to read for your community. There is the distinct possibility that you will run in to them again and maybe even strike up a conversation. This is how communities get connected.
The age of range of readers went from 9 years-old up to around 70 years-old. There were poems about love and emotions, about the death of a family pet and the death of a friend, a magical story about a cat, and poems about speaking your voice. I personally was very excited at the amount of youth that showed up to read. There were at least four poets who had never read their work in front of people and I loved being a part of the beginning of a journey. It’s exciting to see the work transform from paper to voice and what this can do for each person. It is a unique feeling to each writer, but I always look at it as courage and hope.
After the event, I spoke with the owners of the store and they were also pretty excited about the turn out and what it means for the community. We are currently in talks about having a quarterly poetry event and hope that more people will come and share their work. Stay for books. Stay for conversation. Stay for the belonging. Stay tuned for more information.
Read. Write. Support the small press and independent bookstores. Be kind to each other. Stand up for people.