Poetry Slam
Poet Megan Falley performing at the "Poetry Slam" event, as a part of the "Artists of the Mount" initiative. (Photo by Jeanine Verderosa)

by Jillian Torre

When the word “poetry” comes to mind, one might think of the classic and deep works of Sylvia Plath or Edgar Allen Poe.

On Friday, April 4 students learned poetry doesn’t have to be hard, indecipherable, and unrelatable, but it can also be modern, easy to understand,  funny, or emotional. It also doesn’t have to be read; poems can be performed.

Over 60 students turned out for the poetry slam that was a part of “Artists of the Mount,” an art awareness week on campus beginning April 7 and ending April 12. Public relations senior Liliana Peralta planned the week-long arts celebration for her senior thesis.

The night started off with students performing their own work. Sophomore Rebecca Gordils performed her original poem, “I Used to Date a Carpenter.”

“The combination of my writing and acting was just so appealing to me that it clicked. And that’s what I knew I wanted to do now,” said Gordils, who also performed at the library’s poetry reading last year.

For Gordils, the night was more than just performing her work in front of others. She was able to perform in front of and watch her idol Megan Falley, the night’s featured poet.

“It’s so surreal. I can honestly say I feel like Taylor Swift performing in front of Katy Perry…. in 2009 I got an editors choice award for one of my poems, but that didn’t mean as much to me as this did,” said Gordils in regards to performing in front of Falley.

Falley, a New Paltz graduate, is the author of “After the Witch Hunt.” She lives in Brooklyn, writes full time, and tours the country performing her poems. Falley is known for her feminist-themed poems that bring a humorous view to serious topics.

“I think every self-respecting person should consider themselves a feminist,” said Falley. “It’s the radical notion that women are people.”

After Falley’s set, students were able to ask questions. Falley’s biggest piece of advice to aspiring writers: practice. “Musicians practice. Athletes practice. Everybody practices. And what that means is you need to write constantly,” said Falley. “Write every single day and read every single day.”

“We do need more creativity like this on campus. More cultural activities and performances. I was expecting 30 [students] and so we have 64. It just speaks for itself that we do need this and I think the following week will demonstrate it,” said Peralta.

During the remainder of the week students, faculty, staff, and alumni will come together to showcase several of their works at the exhibit, which will be on display from Thursday, April 10 through April 12  in the Aquinas Hall MST Atrium. The exhibit will feature work from different areas, such as photography, art, film, theater, and live music. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, April 10 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. to acknowledge the work of the artists in the exhibit. The reception will be followed by the opening night of MSMC Theatre’s “Almost Maine.”

The purpose of the art awareness campaign, “Artists of the Mount,” is to create an event that will celebrate and highlight various forms of art on campus. MSMC does not have a major event that acknowledges the work, or encourages the participation of the students in the arts. “Artists of the Mount” will serve as an opportunity to encourage the unrecognized artists to produce, no matter the content, or the place they may be, but to simply create.

“Art has made a major impact in my life. Gaining confidence, being outspoken, and not being afraid to fail, that’s one thing you have to learn when working in the arts,” said Peralta. “I also like how when you work in the arts you collaborate and I wanted to bring everybody together through the arts.”