Arts and Cultural Center hosts new 'Poetry Slam'
May 14, 2009
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- "Revolution between my thighs," "Freestylin,'" "Can you read my mind'" "Queen," "In the darkness of my room," "Grace," "I am history."
These poems, along with others, a few raps and a spoken word piece by Whyte Eguakun highlighted the second Poetry Slam evening at the recently relocated Heidelberg Arts and Cultural Center at the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion.
The event, scheduled for the first Thursday of every month, has already become the center director's favorite evening after only two months.
"The first Poetry Slam had 18 people attend from all backgrounds, ethnics and ages," said Jen Bieser, director, Heidelberg Arts and Cultural Center, "but there was this life force, which everyone fed off of, and a real sense of community.
"They all come with good energy, all wanting to share something, all wanting to be a part of something."
One person who came to be a part of the evening was Kasmir McLean, who showed up late with a folder full of original work.
"I've done (readings) in the past, but back in the Caribbean where I'm from," McLean said.
Most of his poetry is a whole different genre than what most people are reading at Poetry Slam evenings, because of his background, he said.
"It's just different ... being from the Caribbean, we have a different way of thinking and of being. Everybody has a different form of doing poetry."
Having grown up in the Virgin Islands and attended college in Puerto Rico, McLean says he writes poetry and short stories in both English and in Spanish and began performing in front of others in speech class in high school.
"I only write for myself really," said McLean, a former Soldier, but he hopes to eventually be published.
Bieser said she wanted to be a professional poet herself earlier in life and has been published. She said that is why she created Poetry Slam evenings.
"I went to poetry slams all the time in Los Angeles and then in London," Bieser said. "The new Arts and Cultural Center presented the perfect opportunity for me to create that atmosphere of the poetry slams which I personally missed and so much loved."
"We get to hear different sides of things," McLean said listing the topics covered: love, lust, history and cats.
Bieser said she hopes "the community will get to know (the Arts and Cultural Center) as the 'happening' place ... they will take our classes, use our studios, they will want to be a part of something that is fun and feels good."
The next reading is June 4, and everyone is encouraged to be on time as the standing house rule is if you're late, you're next.
(Editor's Note: Jason L. Austin writes for the USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg newspaper, the Herald Post).