The Red Raven Espresso Parlor becomes the home of poets and admirers the first Thursday of every month.
If you were to peak into the Red Raven last Thursday, Sept. 6, you may have been surprised. A large gathering of people with either coffee or tea in hand and armed with words took to the small stage amid enthusiastic applause. The event in question is the monthly gathering of “Outlet: Spoken Word Poetry,” carrying on their traditions as they have for the past two years. It is a scene very at home in a coffee shop, where warm drinks and comforting smiles help to put the performers’ minds at ease.
Organized and emceed by the passionate, bubbly Lauren Starling, the event’s participants range in age from high school-aged to retiree, all whose voices are heard. Every time may be different, but each is equally important.
On this particular evening, the event opened with slam poetry from a North Dakota State student airing his frustrations about the creationist who occupied the campus for two days last week. He stated that as the creationist was not open for debate with him to his satisfaction, the poem was his way of finishing his argument.
The gathering continued with poems about loss, mental illness and finding one’s power among a slew of other topics. Starling stressed the importance of the monthly event as an outlet for performers. “If you are mad at you ex, or your parents, or the world, you are allowed to talk about that here,” Starling said.
For those interested in participating or experiencing the event for themselves, “Outlet: Spoken Word Poetry” meets at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. There is no need to contact Starling beforehand. To register, you simply write your name in a notebook upon arrival. For some, reciting poetry (their own or others’) is therapeutic. You might find the same applies to yourself.