Friday last (Oct. 7) I attended my first-ever poetry night. The event was hosted by “Poetry, Pose, and Pizza” and certainly lived up to its name. The pizza was delicious!
Poetry, Prose, and Pizza is a syndicated event in the Tidewater area providing an open mic for those wishing to explore their experiences through the written word. People read openly…and with feeling.
I’m surrounded by writers and storytellers all day. My shipmates at the Navy Public Affairs Support Element East are brilliant communicators dedicated to finding and telling the stories of those serving in the Navy. They do it with a class and verve I always find inspiring. We discuss writing, photojournalism, broadcast, social media…so I’m not bereft of people to talk storytelling with.
Hanging out in a room full of poets though….that was another experience entirely from interacting with fellow journalists. This got real personal real fast, and that made it all the sweeter. The room was filled with a vast swatch of people from across the palette of colors and shapes and backgrounds God created. This much was consistent with my Navy experience.
Seeing these people transformed and transported in front of me was something new.
The poetry was as uninhibited. The subject matter ranged elegant notes covering the onset of autumn to angry, vulgar expressions of lives and sexualities defiled. There was laughter, there was anger, there was discomfort, and there was much snapping of fingers (more on that later—trust me; it’s relevant!).
But the transformations…the momentary glimpses through the skin of this life to the soul within were breathtaking. The art of the scribble came alive in these people and, in those moments, these people were more alive than at most other times in their days.
I saw women with health issues struggling with their weight shuffle to the podium…and then fly. They began to recite their verse and their bodies lightened and lifted. Their souls flamed forward in a veritable ecstasy of joy and rage and love and pain. I watched old men start reading and their spines, curved from age and gravity, straighten as the young spirit within lifted their stature back up. These people became something more during those moments in front of me.
They became who they truly are inside. In front of me the flesh of this earth dropped away into the darkness and the fire that lights the human being, the fire that is the image and spark of God, burst forth. They became someone new and renewed all at once, and it was glorious to watch.
Who knows how they would describe what they saw in me as I read and relaxed around them?
I’m going back.
You should check it out. Sign up on “MeetUp.com” and look for “Poetry, Prose, and Pizza.” There are events in Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Prince George, VA.
As I said, the pizza was delicious!
(The snapping of fingers—you don’t clap during someone’s recital. To encourage them or show your appreciation as they read you snap your fingers. Clapping is held until their reading is finished. Just an etiquette note for you if you decided to check out a poetry reading!)