Poetics Corvallis kicks off the year


Taylor Collins, A&E Contributor

Locals from Corvallis gather to share poetry during open mic night

People from around town came together at Interzone cafe last Friday, Jan. 8 to start the first Poetics Corvallis open mic night of the year.

The poems that were read ranged from individual works, to poems taken from books. The cafe itself has walls that are covered with many paintings and artwork. Before the poems were read, the cafe was filled with the sounds of chatter and the harsh buzz of coffee machines. The mic was set at the far end of the cafe in front of completely filled seats. The event operates by having a simple sign-up sheet set out prior to the event. The first round nine people read aloud, then there was a short break. Afterwards, a few more remaining speakers got the chance to read their poems. Each person has up to ten minutes on the mic.

Poetics Corvallis started about five years ago, at a bar called Cloud & Kelly’s Public House. After a few years of bouncing around they ended up at Interzone cafe located on Monroe Ave. There was a diverse crowd of local community members as well as Oregon State University students. The ages of participants represented multiple generations and perspectives. Even ‘Dancing Mike’ was there to share two spoken word pieces about his life and beliefs.

The night started out with the featured artist and musician, Dusty Santamaria. Santamaria played a few of his original songs on his guitar to warm up the audience for the night. He strummed his guitar and sang as more people came in. Soon the small open space behind all of the chairs was completely filled. There was a slight hum of chatter while others watched and sipped their coffee and tea.

As soon as the the first reader went up to the mic, everyone hushed and intently listened in silence. Even the baristas paused from their work to lean over the counter and listen to the reader. Those who signed up read off of their cell phones, laptops, papers or even what they remembered off of the tops of their heads. Through these gatherings Frank Hall, the host of Poetics Corvallis, strives to create a non-judgmental environment created for local artists to share their work.

“We are not a competitive poetry slam. We provide a supportive, non judgmental, non competitive place for poets to share their poetry.” he said.

Hall presented poems such as William Stufford’s “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.”

For students like Ethan Heasser, a junior in English and communication science, the event provides a comfortable space where he can present his poetry to supportive open ears.

“Last year I was new to Oregon State so I was asking people around if they knew of poetry things because that has always been an interest of mine,” Heasser said. “They told me that this was the place to be for that.”

Heasser shared an assortment of his poems in both rounds of the open mic.

Poetics Corvallis happens every first Friday of the month and will continue throughout the year. Everyone and anyone is welcome to join. The next open mic night will be held on Feb. 5, at 7:30. Remember to get there a little early to grab a seat before they’re all taken.

Was this article helpful?