Opening Night of Open Space

The idea for Open Space came up after a department meeting earlier this semester when Professor David McAleavey noted that undergraduate poets had no public venue on GW to share their poems. Recent public poetry projects for National Poetry Month like “Rent-a-Poet” and the “Poem of the Day” series, which was organized by Professors Thea Brown and Jennifer Chang and which appeared on this very blog, demonstrated a genuine and passionate interest in the community that reading, writing, and talking about poems can form. Why not give voice and space to this community of poets and poetry-lovers throughout the academic year?
With the help of two sophomore Creative Writing minors, Tess Gann and Sara Policastro, a new undergraduate poetry series was born. We named the series “Open Space” to honor the open space of poetic form and the open mic’s inclusive embrace of styles and voices. Current Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington, novelist Brando Skyhorse and his partner, poet Erin Kelly, will be hosting the series this semester at their home on campus. On Tuesday night, the inaugural Open Space was standing-room only, student poets from GW and Corcoran College of Arts and Design, our new comrades-in-verse led by Professors Mel Nichols and Casey Smith, filled the living rooms of Lenthall House. We had student poets leaning against doorframes and each other, while Professors Thomas Mallon and Lisa Page perched on the stairwell. A sign-up sheet and three-poem minimum led to an array of dynamic readers from both campuses and from all schools of poetry: troubadour, spoken word, Dantean mini-epics, confessional lyrics, protest songs, ghazals, Arthurian legends, lyric sequences, and erotic verse! Here is the poetry community at GW (and Corcoran)—it is intrepid and thriving, snapping fingers and asking for more!
Do you have poems to share or just want to listen? The next Open Space event will be Tuesday, November 4th at the Lenthal House, 7:30-9pm. Come early to sign-up or find a seat. In the meantime, you can check out the Open Space activity on Facebook and Twitter @gwuopenspace.

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