Poetry under the stars: Loch Norse Magazine hosts Open Mic Night in Haile Planetarium
February 11, 2023
Stars, constellations and original poetry were just a few of the things audience members were able to experience in the Haile Planetarium Thursday evening at Loch Norse Magazine’s monthly open mic night.
The event featured original work from students, as well as poetry readings from Yalie Kamara, a Cincinnati/Mercantile Library poet laureate and adjunct professor at University of Cincinnati.
Kamara, a Sierra Leonean-American writer, shared a few pieces of her original poetry which gave audience members insight into her childhood, sharing wisdom, lessons she learned from her mother and what life was like in her hometown of Oakland, California.
Some of the poetry Kamara shared was a part of her dissertation, like “Besaydoo,” which discusses her first generation American identity.
“So thinking about girlhood and womanhood in the first generation American context and thinking also about life in Oakland,” Kamara said. “It’s also thinking about kinship and friendship and identity and kind of thinking about the expense and business of black identity.”
Kamara also expressed her excitement for the event, not just to share her work, but also to hear and support other students’ work at the open mic night.
“I hope that it’s part of a kind of a choral ensemble of celebrating words. So not just my words, but what happens when all of our words kind of come together during an evening in the middle of winter in a planetarium?” Kamara said.
Kelly Moffettt, professor of English and faculty advisor for Loch Norse Magazine, was excited to bring Kamara to the event Thursday, sharing how she thinks that Kamara could be a role model for other student writers.
“I thought she would be amazing for the students to see because she’s starting off this career with her PhD, being a poet laureate publishing, editing and just a force in the world,” Moffett said. “I love to bring in people who may be role models for our students, and could show them ‘hey, you know, she’s not too much older than me. I probably could do this if I really put my mind to it.’”
Moffett believes Open Mic Night also allows students to express themselves by giving a space for them to be vulnerable and for audience members to feel the power of language.
“It is amazing how brave our students are. They will stand up, they will say what diagnosis they have, they will talk about trauma and they will kind of own their space and be super brave and just tell it just honestly, full of vulnerability with beautiful language,” Moffett said. “I’m always in awe of our students that they can do this in a way that I may not be as brave.”
Students and Loch Norse editors at the event not only read some of their original work, but they also played a vital role in making the event happen.
Josafina Garcia, co-editor-in-chief of Loch Norse Magazine, played multiple roles Thursday night by performing one of her works, introducing each reader and greeting audience members who attended the event.
“I’m mostly in charge of doing stuff as a student. I will do the introductions, greet everybody at the event just for our featured readers and then some other Loch Norse editors will do introductions for open mic,” she said.
Garcia also mentioned her excitement for her first time ever visiting the Haile Planetarium, adding how she was interested in seeing what it would be like to read her work in a different space than she is used to.
“I’m really excited to see what it looks like, what it feels like and what it is gonna feel like to read amongst the stars,” Garcia said.
Loch Norse Magazine holds open mic nights monthly, with the next open mic night being offered on Zoom Thursday, March 23 at 6 p.m. All majors are welcome and encouraged to attend and share some of their written work, or listen to the work of other students and featured readers. For more information about Loch Norse Magazine and open mic night, click here.