By Emma Arnesen
Last Wednesday, January 21, Lawrence University’s student-published literary and arts magazine, Tropos, hosted a relaxed open-mic event for students to present poetry and prose. The students hosting the event shared their pieces that they had submitted to Tropos last year, but all students and audience members were welcome to perform their own poems or share a work from their favorite writer.
Senior Bryan Cebulski opened the event by sharing a poem describing the weather at Lawrence, “Evidently Chickentown” by John Cooper Clarke. Though the poem was not actually about Lawrence, or weather for that matter, the performance was interesting and engaged the audience with its alternative “punk rock” style. As Cebulski had described, the poetry did not necessarily have to be personal in any way, or even make sense, poetry and prose night was a time meant for people to get to know each other through words.
The genre of works presented ranged from traditional classics to more modern contemporary works that students had written themselves, though all poems were uniquely expressive in their own way. In the relaxed setting it was also not uncommon for there to be a couple poems with repeated profanity. The first poem that Cebulski presented was filled with colorful language, but the way that he read the poem conveyed a sense of comical relief rather than vulgarity in the informal intimate setting.
Senior Cory Davis is another Lawrence student who presented his own original work at the Tropos event. Even though he had heard about the literary magazine, it was not until last year that he submitted his work and was recognized for two of his poems. “For the most part I’ve been writing a lot, just on my own for fun because I enjoy it,” Davis explained. From what it seemed, the students who presented their poems were not necessarily trying to show off their work or gain recognition, but shared their personal stories and passions through the art of words. As Davis mentioned about his work, “I like the idea of having it out there.” The first Tropos event was successful in that students passionate about writing were able to come together and learn more about themselves and others through their written work.