Candles, vines and a microphone. These three items created the calm atmosphere for ASPB’s More than Spoken Word, an open mic poetry event hosted at the HUB. As guests entered the venue, they were greeted and directed towards the marketing table, then a dessert table. After everyone found their seats, the program started with the open mic portion of the schedule. The first performer of the night was Thristine Magallanes, a fourth year creative writing major. This was his first time sharing his poetry for an audience. 

Feat_SpokenWord_Courtesy of Pexels
Feat_SpokenWord_Courtesy of Pexels

“I’ve been wanting to perform open mic for a while just to put myself out there and explore spoken word,” Magallanes said. He enjoys expressing himself and being relatable through poetry.

“I like writing about the way I feel and making people relate to what I write,” he said. Magallanes has been writing poetry for three years now, after being motivated in one of his classes. 

“Learning how to get my emotions and my feelings out there was just what kept me going,” the senior said. “I found it therapeutic.” 

Four students, including Magallanes, presented their poems, and then the program moved on to feature The Verbal Coliseum, a club that shares their passion for poetry through events hosted throughout the year. 

Lauren Marquez, the president of The Verbal Coliseum performed three poems. She gets inspiration from events like More than Spoken Word, her schoolwork and political issues. “As a poet, I’m very open minded to a lot of different art forms and that’s where I get my inspiration from,” said Marquez, a fourth year media and cultural studies major.  

She said it took practice and motivation from peers to be able to stand in front of an audience and share her poems with everyone, and how she’s been able to gain support from poets who participate in The Verbal Coliseum’s events.

Once The Verbal Coliseum finished their performance, which included three poets, the audience got to hear from Poetic Moment, an award winning poet from Los Angeles. While she attended UCR, she started open mic nights, and is grateful to see how much progress this has made over the past 10 years. 

“It’s been emotional to see how this event has changed over time because when it first started it was me and a couple of people performing at the barn,” she said. “So to see it evolve and have this many people in attendance makes me proud.” Her poems are inspired by her students and the work she does within education. 

“I always take whatever I’m getting an education in and use that as a way to advocate for those students who I know who are undocumented, or undervalued and come from low socioeconomic statuses,” Poetic Moment said. “My focus has always been to take their stories and highlight them to the best way that I know how and give them additional voice. 

After her inspiring performance, The Melrose Poetry Bureau engaged with the audience in an interactive poetry competition involving typewriters. They asked audience members to provide random phrases and words to use in their poetry, which they would write on the spot.