North Texas Daily

Poet collective gives readings to energetic crowds

Poet collective gives readings to energetic crowds

March 27
16:45 2013

H. Drew Blackburn

Senior Staff Writer

Crowd participation is generally not encouraged during poetry readings. Poets read their work to a hushed room, save for a cough or a sneeze. When the reading is done, the performance is met with light, gentle applause.

The Spoken Word Collective is striving to change that. The group of Dentonites hosts readings at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on the last Wednesday of every month. By exposing other types of poetry that may differ from the material taught in literature classes, the collective hopes to bring a raw and youthful attitude to the genre.

“Yes, we do have people who read their meter poetry and their sonnets and things,” said Makayla Price, co-founder and English senior. “But we also have people on the other side like me, and we do more like slam poetry. We say spoken word because we don’t want to label it as just poetry.”

The collective’s other founding members include English seniors Ethan McClure and Elizabeth Whitby. General studies senior Justis Phillips joined the collective last February.

“We drunkenly said one night that we like to write poetry,” Price said of the group’s start.

The alcohol-fueled confession revealed a common ground and they eventually started writing together.

Price said the collective initially read at coffee shops around Denton, like Banter, The Hydrant, and the now defunct Art 6. They also booked a charity event for Multiple Sclerosis at Hailey’s Club in the spring of 2010, where they raised $1,000.

The collective began doing shows at Rubber Gloves in November, which Price said is the best environment for their readings. Co-founder Joe Tucker said Rubber Gloves is the perfect place for their brand of readings because it’s small, dark and the audience is close to the stage.

“It’s like Henry David Thoreau plus a lot of punk,” Tucker said. “It’s a bar scene so it’s a lot more acceptable to yell and respond to poetry, which is what we want them to do.”

At the end of every Spoken Word Collective show there is an open mic portion. Tucker said it helps to be more inclusive and give people an outlet and perhaps a little more courage after a few beers, and because they’d like more people to join.

Former UNT student Matthew Schipper said there is a lot of support in Denton among fellow writers.

“I’ve never lived in a city where finding a community of talented writers was so easy,” Schipper said.

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