On Thursday, September 29th, the creative community gathered again for an open mic event called Meet Up/Read Out. This thrice a semester open mic was hosted by Matthew Vollmer, Director of the Creative Writing Department, in the Newman Library Multipurpose Room.
This is an opportunity for professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students to listen to one another share poetry and prose, either that they had written or that they had come across and had stirred something in them. Each reader had a maximum of 5 minutes at the mic, and 9 people took advantage of the safe space to share.
Lauren Copan, an alumna of the Undergraduate Department of English here at Virginia Tech, read an excerpt from an email exchange with her father. The two were discussing the merits and complications of going to Graduate school for her MA (Master in Arts) as opposed to an MFA (Master in Fine Arts). The former would permit her to study literature as an academic, whereas the latter permits her to write and practice her own craft. The email from her father, which she read first, contained wisdom and advice about studying literature and learning from “the greats.”
Laura’s response was a defense of MFA programs and their ability to allow her to create her own “great” literature.
While speaking to me briefly after Meet Up/Read Out, she explained why she chose that particular piece to read.
A: I wanted to choose something different, and something that would be helpful to someone who has also had to justify their life choices to their family members.
Q: When you write, do you do so with the intention of sharing your work, or do you write for yourself and share it when you feel compelled to?
A: The second, mostly. I write for myself, although I do try to share it in some way because it’s a healthy habit to get into.
Q: What would you say to students who are uncomfortable reading at open mic events?
A: People will always clap no matter what. It’s heartwarming to see someone who was nervous get up and plow through. They are reading to a loving environment and are always great.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Meet Up/ Read Out?
A: Meet Up/Read out is open ended. They bring something drastically different every time. It’s amazing the range of emotions you go through in 30 minutes because of what people choose to share.
The audience on this particular evening, like Copan pointed out, experienced a wide range of emotions as the 9 readers shared their thoughts and carefully crafted work.
The next Meet Up/Read Out will be held on Thursday, October 27th .