Seniors Katherine (Katie) Mueller and Cynfor Lu organized and hosted a poetry slam this past week in Mead Witter. The event followed familiar beats of Lu and Mueller reading a lot of their own poetry and then opening up the stage for anyone to come up and read their own poetry. Mueller and Lu shared with The Lawrentian their intentions behind this event and how their friendship informs their poetry and the event overall.
According to Lu, he and Mueller “have been friends since freshman year, but we also sort of hated each other for various reasons in freshman year which is why our radio show is called ‘This Used to Be Weird.’” He added that now that they are friends, he looks up to her “as a role model, but also enjoys teasing her and making sure her ego doesn’t get too big.” He stated that although they are very different people, they are similar in the aspects that matter. Mueller said that her friendship with Lu is incredibly special and that she is very grateful for it. She added that something she values about their friendship is their shared appreciation for “very tiny things throughout our day-to-day lives.” Connecting their friendship to the poetry reading, Mueller said she believes that “a lot of poets have an ability to notice tiny moments and to imagine them as large worlds all their own — very “Horton Hears a Who”-esque. It is good to be able to stop and to look at small things with people you care about.”
Mueller also spoke about their decision to host the poetry reading: “I feel as Cynfor and I finish out our senior year, we’re both doing a lot to just enjoy each other and to do the things that make us happy.” They decided to host it in Winter Term because they find that winter is often a difficult term, and “wanted to be intentional about having fun and doing fun things,” said Lu. As for the name, “Lemons in a Pitcher” came from an inside joke over the summer when Mueller messaged Lu about getting lemons stuck in a pitcher while housesitting. “Part of the summer I was in Ireland,” said Mueller, “and for most of the summer Cynfor was in China. The distance — there was so much of it! One day while I was in Ireland, he messaged me and said we should do a poetry reading this year. I said yes without hesitation. It really wasn’t a deeper thing than that. We were really excited that a few hearty and true people came, and we’re hoping to host another reading next term.”
Lu said he chose poems of his to read that he remembered liking when he wrote them. “I tend to write very short poems,” said Lu, “sometimes only a line. One of the first poems I read, ‘Butts,’ was also one of the first poems I ever wrote and was proud of, and is only one line long: ‘Butts crack me up.’” One of his favorite moments of the reading was cracking up at his own poem “Thanksgiving.” “I remember writing the poem and thinking it was funny, but I hadn’t read it since I had wrote it and forgot some of the contents. So when I read it out loud to everyone, the contents surprised me as much as they did the audience!” Lu continued that not all his poems are jokes or as silly as “Butts” or “Thanksgiving,” and celebrated Mueller’s poems as well: “I think Katie has a really unique way with words and that was reflected both in the poems she wrote and read, as well as the poems by other writers she chose to read.”
Lu also highlighted the open mic portion of the event: “I think that even just reading other people’s poems to a crowd is a really strangely vulnerable action, and I really appreciate how many people were willing to share that aspect of themselves with us.”
This writer also hopes that there is another poetry reading next term and that more people get to experience the warmth and joy that Lu and Mueller brought to that space.