English department hosts open mic night
Updated: Sep 16, 2022
By Ryan O’Connell
Arts & Features Editor
The FSU English department hosted its annual poetry open mic night as a part of this year’s Black & Gold Beginnings events in Sandella’s Flatbread Café, Sept. 8.
Several staff members of The Onyx - Framingham State’s literary and art magazine - welcomed students to the event alongside English faculty.
freshman Scott Cousland was the first reader of the night, sharing “The Inaugural Poem for The Dim Cats Club.” Cousland said he had been writing creative pieces all his life, but only recently began to record them in greater detail.
“I went out on Labor Day, … I was walking down that trail, thinking about the reception of the English department, and thinking about one of my favorite movies, which is the ‘Dead Poets Society,’
“‘Dim Cats’ is actually an acronym, which … stands for ‘divergence, incandescent mystics and misfits, who are creative, assertive, and transformative troublemakers in society,’” he said.
Cousland’s poem expressed his gratitude toward nature and community. “And thank you my friend for helping me live, and thanks once again for the kindness you give.” He added he had never read at an open mic night before, but was interested in sharing again.
Sophomore Sofia Wilson, submissions editor for The Onyx, read a poem titled “Awake,” expressing a feeling of embrace with the night.
Wilson’s poem was also included in the Spring 2022 edition of The Onyx. “Oh, to be loved by this night, to sleep in its domain, is to be awake. Wholly, peacefully, finally awake.”
Freshman Kate Norrish read next, sharing a poem that shares her experiences with autism, and acts as “a bit of an ode” to the 1922 movie “Nosferatu.”
Norrish read, “The only thing I like about summer is swimming, except what I like best about it is apparently not called swimming, but it perfectly describes the word … bouncing and flapping, staring intensely at people and plants and movements and - I am behaving like a monster.
“I saw the ’70s version of Nosferatu and I thought it was fine. Then I saw the ’20s version. Saw a bit of my soul become a living thing. Looking about and feeling with long fingers, touching, stepping, learning, and - am I supposed to be scared of this?”
Not all students opted to read their own work, however, like freshman Faith Wangui who read “Brown Eyes,” a poem by Nadia McGhee about someone jealous of a woman's blue eyes.
Wangui also gave a live rendition of “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu, and said she sings as a hobby in her spare time.
Sophomore Emily Monaco, art editor for The Onyx, read an untitled poem she said was very personal, and had written years prior. She later read a more recent poem, “The True Victim,” a poem about being wronged by a loved one and the consequences they face.
Senior Alphonse Smith read a piece titled “My Father Can See Ghosts,” which had also been published in the Spring 2022 edition of The Onyx, involving his gender identity and the response of his father.
“My father continues to sob against the steering wheel, reciting my obituary as I take mental notes. I try to speak, I tell him ‘I’m still here! I didn’t go anywhere.’ His child hasn’t passed. He doesn’t need to mourn,” he said.
Smith read, “My father can see phantoms, wraiths, spooks, souls, apparitions. He can see them all, but he refuses to see his living, breathing son sitting beside him.”
Freshman Raena Doty then read a short original poem titled “From Shame, Progress” before Scott Cousland read another piece of his recent work, ending the open mic portion of the event.
Lisa Eck, chair of the English department, thanked all the attendants, as well as The Onyx members as the event was ending. She encouraged writers and artists to submit their work to the magazine and to become published.
[ Editor's Note: Raena Doty is a Staff Writer for The Gatepost. ]