Poetry lovers, writers, or anyone who is simply interested in performance poetry will be thrilled to hear that on Friday, April 15, Metropolitan State University will be holding the third annual Global Poetry Festival, in celebration of National Poetry Month. The Festival will consist of performances from the National Poetry Slam Championship team, the same three features as last year, since the team won the National Poetry Slam championship for the second time in the summer of 2010. These talented performers are Khary Jackson, Guante, and Sierra DeMulder.
While the performers will be performing all new work during the 2011 Poetry Festival, some of their previous work can be found online on YouTube. (Note: see newspaper for links)
The festival begins at 7 p.m. in the Founders Hall auditorium of Metropolitan State. The festival is a free, catered event, which is open to the public, and free parking will be available on the street and in the parking lot across from Founders Hall. Metropolitan State students are encouraged to invite their friends, even those that normally may not be interested in poetry. The event is sure to be a great time, and a plus is that it’s free entertainment, so students should not miss out. Those who attend will also get a chance to listen to a wide variety of poetry, since an open Poetry Slam will begin at 8:30 p.m., and later judged by the National Poetry Slam championship team. Sign-up for the slam is held between 6 and 6:45 p.m., so those who are interested should be sure to go early to sign up.
Last year’s festival attracted 120 people, and two of the openers were Metropolitan State alums. One of the openers, Louis Murphy, graduated in 2009 with an English and Writing major, and is now a graduate student pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University. Murphy raves about his experience in the festival, and wishes the festival were a full weekend long so that more students could get their work out there for others to hear. “Despite it being only one day, it was so worthwhile to take part in,” he said. “Last year, Ed Bok Lee gave me the opportunity to be part of the Global Poetry Festival, and it was well worth taking part in. It allowed me to be heard in a larger public space and to participate in an event that helps share what is going on at Metro in the writing community, and with Haute Dish.”
Murphy explained that the kind of pressure he felt to perform in the festival helped him understand how big of a deal it is to read publicly, and how fulfilling it is in the end. “The experience of the festival was electric. I had no idea what to expect except that there were two other poets from Metro and the team of slam poets from the area. Everyone performed well.”
Unfortunately, Murphy is unable to attend this year’s Festival, but he would attend again in the future. “I would definitely do it again,” he said. “It was an honor to be a part of something so fulfilling, to be there with other poets, and to see such performances, especially from the slam team. They proved to me again that slam is an important part of a poetry community, and reminded me of the importance of performance arts.”
Another opener from last year’s Festival, Jonah Volheim, graduate from Metropolitan State in December 2010 with a double major in Screenwriting and Creative Writing. He is now pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Volheim also greatly enjoyed his experience performing at the Festival. “It was an incredible experience,” he said. “I was honored to share my work with a large group of people. Also, the other talent, from the National Slam Team, to the poets that put themselves on the line in our own Poetry Slam contest actually made me a bit less jaded on the state of writing today. These people really had something to say, and they were not going to let anything stop them.”
Volheim explained that he would be interested in performing at Festival again, if asked. “It would be a privilege and an honor to help the Festival in any way I could,” he said. “The event last year had a great turnout. We had students from the U of M, local members of the community, and Metro students all signing up to perform in the Slam section of the Festival. Of course, I should mention the tasty catered food that was provided and also the fantastic artwork of fellow Metro State students that was on display.”
Volheim explained that the Festival is a good time, but more than just that. “It’s about poetry and fellowship,” he said. “By hearing some of the amazing multicultural works that were given at the festival, we can embrace the ever-changing landscape-both racial and socioeconomic-that dominate the world we live in. And by embracing it, I mean trying to change the social quid pro quo. The written word has the ability to do this.”
Don’t miss out! Come to The Global Poetry Festival and experience something new and creative. For more information on this event, contact Ed Bok Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.