By Marquise Griffin
On Saturday, March 8,the Kalamazoo Poetry Collective (KPC) will be hosting the weekly Zoo After Dark event with its quarterly Poetry Slam.
Salwa Tareen ‘14, one of the Co-Directors of KPC, invites all to attend the event and said that the KPC has sought to give a safe space and voice to students at Kalamazoo College through their open microphone and poetry slam events.
“K students can share their work in either the open mic or in the competitive slam portion,” said Tareen.
The poetry slam will be divided in two parts with the first half being the open night section and the second half being competitive.
Tareen stated that the open mic is open to all themes or topics. Participants are encouraged to speak from their personal experiences and use the event as a platform for personal expression.
“No topic is off limits and every story is welcome on the stage. We also strive to incorporate professional poets in these events in an effort to actively diversify and challenge the dominant narratives on campus,” said Tareen.
The featured professional poet for Saturday’s event is Danez Smith from San Diego, California. He has traveled throughout the country and has performed his poetry and theatre internationally.
Smith is a critically acclaimed poet, praised for his One-Man Theatre Production “For Those Who Pray In Closets”, which tells the story of a closeted gay man who struggles between his religion and sexuality.
Smith is nationally renowned for his poetry which touches on topics such as queer identity, closeted sexuality, and religion. He placed 6th at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam.
Tareen said she hopes that the event opens discussion about issues affecting the lives of Kalamazoo students.
“As a collective, we aim to create open spaces on campus for conversation, performance, and reflection. Each poetry slam is an invitation for the entire campus community to join in this mission with us,” said Tareen.
Anyone interested in performing in either the open mic or poetry slam can email Tareen at Salwa.Tareen10@kzoo.edu or sign up at the event. Zoo After Dark starts at 9:00 PM. and ends at 12:00 A.M.