Poetry Night Holds First Event of Semester

by MIKE CARLSON, Contributor

On a cold and dark Thursday night a group of students took some time to forget about midterms and express themselves artistically. This was not a chance gathering but was Poetry Night, an event that allows students to share poems openly in a light atmosphere.

Featuring coffee, donuts, cookies and of course art, Poetry Night was put on by the Multicultural Center on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Students performed both original and existing poetry in a creative and welcoming space.

Bryan McKeon is a sophomore civil engineering major and a member of the Multicultural Center events board. McKeon is a moderator for Poetry Night and is also working on a book featuring a collection of his original poems. McKeon weighed in on why Poetry Night is important to him.

“The ability for college students to escape the everyday stresses of life is probably my favorite part of the event,” McKeon said. “There is nothing better than after two midterms, to come and express your thoughts on life with your fellow Jaspers and relax. The inclusive environment that Poetry Night has, truly allows for people to truly express themselves and relax. The sense of belonging has to be one of the many reasons that I still attend and run Poetry Night events.”

As the Manhattan College campus was celebrating Peace and Justice Week, students were able to connect with each other through art. Students vocalized their thoughts and feelings in a setting free from judgement. The event also encouraged students to share poetry in any way they feel comfortable. For example, one student performed his original poetry with background music highlighting his performance.

Chantal Flores is a junior civil engineering major who has been attending Poetry Night for a little over a year. In addition to reading poetry, Chantal also performed a song.

“I come to Poetry night because it is so nice to be around your peers and listen to them. They have a talent, whether it be writing poems or reading them beautifully. Some people even sing songs or play instruments. Poetry Night isn’t just about poetry, it’s about connecting with other people,” said Flores.

Leslie Guridy Melo is a friend of The Multicultural Center. She is a regular attendee of Poetry Night. She described her feelings toward Poetry Night and how the event has changed her views on poetry.

“At first I only came because of my friends, I didn’t even really like poetry until I started coming and was like, wow. Not all poems are boring! It’s really interesting because some poems get really depressing and deep and some poems are hilarious … It’s a cozy, non-stressful space to just hear people chill out,” Guridy Melo said.

Poetry Night encourages students to come together as a group to celebrate self-expression and art. Whether presenting already published poetry or original work, students are able to share the talents that they have openly with others.

Poetry Night is hosted by The Multicultural Center on the second Tuesday and the last Thursday of every month. Their next event will be held on Tuesday, March 12 and will be a collaborative event with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).