Students share thoughts and java at coffeehouse

Under the dim lights of the Social Science Building Atrium, students displayed their poetry and prose skills at Ink’s coffeehouse last Thursday night. The open-mic event, which was Ink’s first of the semester, gave students the opportunity to share their work, soak in some provocative writing, or simply sit back, drink coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.

“I feel like writing’s a good way to release your energy,” Joe Rooney, senior English major, who shared a short story at the event, said. “It’s a good catharsis.”

Like many others in attendance, Rooney’s writing was intensely personal and well-received by the rest of the crowd. His story of a man’s struggle between his spirituality and his duty to his father tackled tough issues and struck a nerve with the audience.

“I really kind of fell in love with writing (over the past year),” Rooney said, adding that he never plans out his stories. “The writing usually plans out me.”

Over the course of the night, several students made multiple trips to the microphone. Some even scribbled down words while others read their work aloud to create instant poetry. The process showed an encouraging passion and appreciation for writing.

“I don’t go back to edit,” Larissa Banwell, freshman psychology major, who was constantly writing down ideas and sharing them during the coffeehouse, said. “I don’t bother. I just regurgitate my thoughts onto the page.”

Despite being constructed in a matter of minutes, much of Banwell’s poetry was filled with meticulous imagery and raw emotion, and her words highlighted the event.

Ink’s coffeehouse allowed onlookers to experience several different types of writing, from a series of prolonged raps to a poem that channeled the persona of Anne Sexton. Free expression was the key throughout the night, as emcee Dave Koshar, freshman Ink member, frequently invited students to come up on stage and read whatever they wanted.

For some, reading their work in front of an audience came naturally, while others hesitated in the spotlight before finding their rhythm.

Marta Paczkowska, freshman English major, was relaxed as she read “Utopia Theatre,” which dealt with the underlying drama of high school culture. “I come from a place/where silence intertwines with understanding,” she read to the hushed audience. Paczkowska later talked about how she drew on personal experience to create her dramatic effect.

“High school is like a stage,” she said. “It really inspired me. The poem juxtaposes school and home.”

Koshar, freshman history major who recently joined Ink, shared a poem titled “Clothing,” which used the idea of clothing as a metaphor for masking identity.

“I wrote that when I was going through a period of mental struggle,” he said. “People started to see me as something I wasn’t.”

The poem, which was another standout at the coffeehouse, was his way of expressing frustration.

“I took the notion of clothing as something covering you instead of fashion,” he said. “I took the metaphor and extended it.”

Ink hopes to set up another coffeehouse soon and plans to hold “the Goods,” another open-mic event, sometime in November.

Judging by the positive turnout at this coffeehouse, there shouldn’t be any trouble finding willing performers, listeners or general writing enthusiasts.