Free Expression Poetry Club encourages self-expression through open mic nights

Feb. 1, 2016

Abbie Stillman
astillma@uccs.edu

Slam poetry has been a popular form of self-expression for hundreds of years, but students can participate in the variety of events that the Free Expression Poetry Club offers right now.

The club hosts monthly open mic nights at Clyde’s, which include a feature and then a poetry slam. About two dozen participants show up to these events.

The club is co-sponsoring an open mic and poetry slam with the Black Student Union. The event will take place on Feb. 11 and will honor black history month. On March 4, the club will honor the LGBTQ population. They are hoping to co-sponsor the night with Spectrum.

Kim Southcott, senior nursing major, leads the club and explained there is usually a full crowd at their events. They have judges in the audience, and a brief history of why slam exists is offered at each event.

“Poetry slam looks a lot like open mic, (but) there are a few rules, like you can only read a three-minute piece and it has to be your own work,” she said.

Free Expression Poetry Club was founded eight years ago. The club typically meets at 7 p.m. in the MOSAIC office, according to Southcott.

“The whole point of slam, starting in the ‘80s in Chicago, is that people were getting tired of poetry readings being boring and dry,” Southcott explained.

Special guests are sometimes brought in by the club to offer perspectives on the issues being discussed.

“We’re going to have an awesome local Colorado Springs poet named Tinico, who is an advocate for the queer and trans community,” said Southcott in reference to the event on March 4.

The club is also a good place to meet well-known artists. On Jan. 23, the club hosted Jared Paul, a social activist and hip-hop musician.

Free Expression Poetry Club is in the midst of sending a team to compete nationally.

They are hoping to send a team to the Collegiate University Poetry Slam Invitational April 6-9 in Austin, Texas. Only four people are allowed to be on a team. An alternate will also serve as a coach to join on the trip. Southcott and another member are the current coaches of their team.

Information about how to join Free Expression Poetry Club can be found on their Mountain Lion Connect page.