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Mic Check puts poetry center stage

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 01:02

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Chad Scott, sociology graduate student, recites original poetry on stage at open mic earlier this semester.

Words have the power to change things, evoke emotions and bring people together. Blended in a flowing structure of artful expression, words can mean more — as promoted by the slam poetry organization, Mic Check.

 Mic Check, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Amir Safi, Class of 2009 and editorial assistant for the biochemistry and biophysics department, strives to serve the community through written and spoken poetry. During the past three years, Mic Check has grown from a small band of inspired students to a government recognized nonprofit — hosting readings, festivals and competitions with the help of community funds and the drive and imagination of its poets.

Mic Check president and Bill Moran, Class of 2010, described the organization as “a graffiti hospital, a punk-rock church, an audience of ears and hearts and a stage all swung wide open for anyone with imagination and the gall to voice it out loud.”

Safi said the goal of the organization is to bring people together through art, all while supporting the Bryan-College Station area.

“Art is made and supported by the community,” Safi said. “So it is the art’s duty to give back to the community.”

Mic Check meets twice a week to discuss poetry and practice technique. Wednesday nights, Mic Check hosts weekly writing sessions in the MSC where writers provide feedback and input on peers’ pieces. They also perform their poetry at Open Mic Night in downtown Bryan, an act that brings their words to life.

“Open Mic is a really great place to listen to and practice poetry,” said Rachel Mallison, junior political science major. “It is a great community of people who are very supportive and a cool place to hang.”

Open Mic Night is a free event where poets from all over the Brazos Valley. The night also presents feature poets from cities across Texas.

Beyond spreading the art of poetry, Mic Check has also worked with A&M Consolidated High School, Bryan High School and various Houston schools to provide free poetry workshops. This year, the organization is starting a new workshop project with the Brazos Valley Juvenile Detention Center.

“The workshops are amazing,” said James Church, writing director for Mic Check. “The kids are very pessimistic at first, but after Billy and I perform for them, they usually open up.”

Mic Check is growing fast, having hosted the Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival and the Texas Youth Poetry Slam in November. The organization also recently published their first poetry anthology, The Tenth Muse, a publication that features poems by local writers from the Brazos Valley.

 

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