JOPLIN, Mo. — On Friday April 23 at 7 p.m., an Open Mic Poetry Night event will take place at Joplin Empire Market, located at 931 E 4th St. in Joplin.
The 21+, free event allows guests to present their favorite poems. Writers and non-writers alike can recite a poem of their choice — written by themselves or someone else.
“A lot of the time, poetry events are exclusively geared towards poets — people writing their own work — but we wanted it to be more accessible, friendly and easygoing and give people that are admirers of poetry, or just don’t write poetry themselves, the opportunity to recite works that they like,” said Connect2Culture Director Emily Frankoski.
But you don’t need to present a poem to participate in the event, you can also come just to tune in. Guests can bring beer or a bottle of wine to enjoy while kicking back and listening to the pieces.
“Poetry can seem intimidating to people and that’s kind of another point of this event, making it so poets or non-poets alike can participate — kind of breaking down that barrier of people thinking poetry is something that’s not available to them or something they can’t do,” said Frankoski.
Frankoski says reciting poetry is a great way to build confidence and public speaking skills. She hopes the event inspires those who attend to maybe write poetry themselves.
Registration is necessary to be part of the event. To save your spot, use the ‘Reserve a Spot’ button on the event’s Facebook page. The event is limited to the first 50 people who register. Masks are required.
National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, making this year the 25th celebration.
Poetry could be considered a dying art form, but events like this remind us why it’s important to keep poetry alive.
“It’s been around forever, it’s something that’s part of our culture. It helps tell a story in, sometimes, a few words and it can be very impactful… It really connects everyone. Once you read it, it’s so illustrative it kind of blows your mind, even if it’s just a short poem,” she said.
Thursday April 29 is National Poem in your Pocket Day, in which Connect2Culture will print off hundreds of poems written by famous and local authors to distribute in Joplin.