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Brave souls bare it all at erotic poetry night


One might be surprised to hear that Erotic Poetry Night is an event on this Jesuit campus. However, for the fifth year in a row, The Greyhound Collective Poetry Revival has hosted this event for those brave enough to read or listen to poetry about sex or love. There were around 15 people in the audience, which was both a comfortable amount and just enough to make conversation with different people throughout the night. It was an extremely laid-back environment, filled with friends, baked goods, the comfy chairs in the Reading Room and of course, erotic poetry.

Co-Presidents Leya Burns and Sarah Nielsen created a serene atmosphere that made even the most timid in the crowd stand up in front of the microphone to read a poem. Although daunting at first, once people starting volunteering to read, the rest of the crew put their guards down and stepped up to the mic. “What’s more personal and intimate than love poems? It takes a lot of courage to read them in front of your peers,” Nielsen said.

I had honestly no idea what to expect, having never attended the event before this year. I was anxious to hear these “erotic” poems, but thought it might make for an awkward and uncomfortable night. However, I had the completely opposite reaction. Each poem proved to be extremely innovative and artistic. Some were original pieces while others were read from poetry books, but all poems had the overarching theme of erotic love or loss. Poets ranged from e.e. cummings to Shakespeare, and even a verse from Usher’s “Oh My God” was humorously read.

The original poems were the best part of the night. The deep emotions displayed by  performers in both the words and the readings made the event more personal. “Heaven’s Not a Bar, but a Hole in the Ground,” was an original poem read by Burns, which was exceptionally innovative and intense. Watching someone read a poem is an enjoyable experience and this is made intense when it is his or her own work. I admire the courage it takes to share one’s own work with a crowd like that. Although most of the poems were about love or being in love, there were also some about another the loss of love. Love is a universal subject, and therefore anyone and everyone had the chance to feel included in the event.

In between poetry readings, there were “cake breaks,” which were enjoyed by most attendees (the heart-shaped chocolate cake was a definite hit, along with the chocolate chip cookies and brownies). I mean, what’s the point of talking about love if you can’t stuff your face with tons of chocolate, right? The jokes exchanged (occasionally inappropriate, but fitting to the overall theme) made the night seem a lot more like hanging out with friends then actually “attending an event.” The idea of reading poems solely on the subject of erotic love or heartbreak helped everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level.

The whole atmosphere was perfect for a night to stray away from homework and school. The timing of the event was ideal especially considering midterms are rapidly approaching. Although extremely humorous and silly at times, it was overall laid-back and comfortable. “You get to be intimate and embarrassing in front of everyone,” Co-President Nielsen laughed. Everyone could let their creative and whimsical juices flow as they listened to each other share poetry. Though the topic might scare you away, I urge you to move past it. Enjoy the poetry, the company and the food. It is definitely a more intellectually stimulating event than Netflix binging.

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Brave souls bare it all at erotic poetry night