Students will use poetry to voice their dissent against North Carolina’s proposed Amendment One tonight.
UNC Wordsmiths, a campus organization that promotes poetry on campus, is teaming up with the UNC Coalition Against Amendment One to host a poetry open mic tonight in the Pit.
See the show:
When: 6 p.m. tonight
Where: the Pit
Entrance is free
Junior Tariq Luthun, founder of the campus poetry group, said the event is not only an anti-Amendment One rally, but a chance for students to experience spoken word.
“Some people just don’t know poetry is on campus,” Luthun said. “They have this misconception that it’s something to keep on the page.”
Ben Elling, a sophomore involved with the Coalition Against Amendment One, approached Luthun a few weeks ago about joining forces for an awareness event.
“The idea of having spoken word poets and people from the community share their thoughts seemed like an interesting way to talk about the issue, instead of standing on the corner, trying to get people to register to vote,” Elling said.
Elling said he hopes people will stop and listen even if they’re not fans of poetry or don’t care about Amendment One.
“It’s the heart of campus, and people walk by there all the time,” he said.
The Wordsmiths was created at the beginning of this academic year. The group has held several events in the Bulls Head Bookshop this year, and host a monthly open mic and poetry slam.
But today marks the first time the group will perform in the Pit.
Luthun said he thinks the central location will give a boost to attendance.
“Our last slam, we had 100 people, and I’m expecting more because we’ll be in the Pit, and people who will walk by and say, ‘Oh snap, what is this?’” Luthun said.
The event will include open mic poetry, featured poetry readings and slam poetry by the Wordsmiths’ competitive team.
The event is also functioning as a send-off for the spoken word team, which will be competing in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in La Verne, California next week.
This is the first time UNC will be represented in the competition, Luthun said.
Between performances, students from the Coalition Against Amendment One will provide information about the amendment, which, should it pass, would define marriage in North Carolina as only between one man and one woman.
The amendment will be on the May 8 ballot.
“Poetry is hip,” Luthun said. “Spoken word is hip. The goal is to make it relevant.”
Kane Smego, coach for the Wordsmiths competitive team and artistic director of local poetry group Sacrificial Poets, said using poetry to talk about current events makes perfect sense.
“Spoken word is thought of as a new art form, and a new way to address issues, but it’s a renewed art form,” he said.
“It was in the very beginning used to talk about news, what people were thinking about, things people cared about.”
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