With the warm, orange lighting, there was a certain romanticism about the place, and it wasn’t just the unfinished puzzle of Klimt’s “Kiss” on the the table in the corner.
Weber State’s literary magazine, Metaphor, held its fall open mic night last Friday at Wisebird Bookery. Located on Harrison Boulevard, Wisebird Bookery is home to bookworms, coffee addicts and artists, providing a vibe that was nothing short of collegiate.
Metaphor holds an open mic night in both fall and spring semesters, encouraging students, faculty and the community to participate. The open mic night event in the fall is held to award their flash fiction contest winners. Kyle Poppitz, editor-in-chief of Metaphor, explained that the flash fiction contest helps make people aware of Metaphor before they start advertising submissions for the actual journal.
In Wisebird’s living-room setting, the event was intimate, casual and friendly, taking a break from the “pretentious snapping” of traditional poetry readings. Several students and non-students were eager to share their work and brave the stand. Some were already prepared with printed copies of their work, while others fumbled through their journals or scratched down poems on the back tables.
Participants read poetry and short stories about a variety of topics that ranged from serious thoughts on love, loss and everything in between. Throughout the entire evening the atmosphere remained open and uncensored.
Metaphor poetry editor, Megan Olsen, was the one who suggested the event be held at Wisebird Bookery.
“It’s a local business, and I think that we should support local businesses. I think that’s a good place for people to gather.” Olsen said.
Olsen added that she likes Wisebird better than previous venues because there is more space for people to wander around.
“This feels more collegiate,” Poppitz said. “This feels like the place to be.”
Olsen was happy with the turnout, explaining that they didn’t expect so many people to attend.
“I feel like the amount of participation that we have is incredible,” Olsen said.
Former Metaphor staff member and current WSU student Chelsea Maki was also impressed with the success of the event.
“I think I was most excited about seeing some of my classmates here because it’s good for us to kind of talk and converse outside of the classroom setting,” Maki said. “When we’re so focused on the academics, I don’t think that we really get to relax and get to know each other, so I think things like this are good to just get to know people in the department.”
Poppitz thinks that open mic night is very beneficial.
“People need a venue to express their works,” Poppitz said. “Sometimes you just need the confidence to go up there and read your work because a lot of people just write and they’re happy to see what they’ve written, but to read what you have written to other people, that’s when you’ve truly mastered your awareness of your writing.”
After presenting her piece, which won third place in the contest, Maki said that presenting and reading for an audience provides a different element to the experience.
“When you’re reading it you’re feeding off that audience energy and you’re channeling that into your piece,” Maki said. “It’s even different from just reading your piece aloud at home to make sure it sounds OK. An audience adds a difference which I think is beneficial because writing is a form of storytelling . . . so I think there’s an important place in writing for reading a story out loud,” she said.
The open mic night didn’t discriminate against veterans or novices, everyone was encouraged to present their work.
Second-place winner of the flash fiction contest, WSU senior Sophie Stanley is majoring in classical guitar, and writes for fun. Stanley said she had never done anything like Metaphor or the open mic night before. It was only recently she found out that Metaphor existed and she wrote her story, “Devil’s Food.”
“(Open mic night) is kind of cool, I think it’s an interesting thing to do.” Stanley said. “(Metaphor) is a cool idea because I love reading, I love writing and the idea that you can write short stories and then read them in front of people . . . I think it’s kind of romantic actually.”
Weber State’s composition and creative writing professor Laura Stott explained the final process of the artistic expression of writing is sharing it with people. “I think open mic is a venue where people can share their work and it’s good to just communicate art,” Stott said.
Metaphor will have another open mic night in the spring. Those interested in submitting to Metaphor should visit their website, weber.edu/metaphor.com