Students to present creative work at open mic night

Logan Raschke, Contributing Writer

Eastern students will read aloud their poems and other writings to an audience during an open mic night at Bob’s Books on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Bess Winter, instructor of creative writing, said the open mic was originally proposed to her introduction to creative writing and intermediate fiction classes, but other students from different classes will also be participating.

At the open mic, 10 to 15 readers will have about five minutes each to share what they have written to their peers and the rest of the audience, Winter said.

Most of the work Winter’s students will be reading has been written during class, and as of now, she said the students are finishing up final revisions and preparing for the open mic.

With this being Winter’s first semester teaching at Eastern and the first open mic she has helped students prepare for, she said she is excited to hear everyone present their work in front of their peers and members of the Charleston community.

While this will be a good learning experience for the student readers, Winter said it will also be a pleasant experience for visiting members of Charleston.

“I think it’s important for the (Eastern) community to know what we do in creative writing and to know how creative our students are, and also, because this is at Bob’s (Books), it’s reaching out to the community, in a way, and inviting people from the community to see what we do,” she said.

Helping students from the beginning phases of drafting up until final revisions has been a privilege, Winter said, and she is eager to hear them present their work in front of a live audience.

“I enjoy hearing my students’ work. I really enjoy mentoring my students,” she said. “I feel a lot of pride when I hear students stand up and share work that they’re proud of.”

Miranda Gomez, a senior English and secondary education major, said she has written a poem about her experience as a server for Cracker Barrel and will read it at open mic.

Her poem details how she feels during a bad day at work, and she has titled it “Happy Hour,” she said.

Gomez said this will be her first time reading at an open mic, and now that she has finished the final revisions of her poem, she is focusing on presenting the work. She said while she is nervous about presenting her poem, reading it in front of the audience is what she is most excited to do.

“I’m just excited to read (‘Happy Hour’) because I had so much fun writing it, and I had so much fun learning how to write,” she said. “So, I just want to show off a little bit—show off what I’ve got.”

When it comes to creative writing, Gomez said public readings like the open mic serve as great opportunities to share different ideas through an underappreciated art form.

“I think creative writing kind of has this stigma of not being important anymore, and that’s sad,” she said. “I just think it’s something that should be more normalized. We should want to go to open mic night and just listen, or if you want to present, either way, it should be more normalized. People should go out and hear other things—learn other things—even if they don’t like it. It’s important.”

Winter said she thinks this open mic will serve as a great moment for Eastern’s student community to unwind, temporarily separate themselves from busy finals studying and enjoy some creative writing, courtesy of their peers.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].