Amongst the regulars watching Thursday’s March Madness at Covington’s Pike Street Lounge, Speak Easy Writer’s Chris Rudd stood in front of a microphone and urged friends as well as strangers to join him in reading poetry.
Surrounded by the red and green walls and old tin ceiling, Rudd encouraged others to read by telling a tale of man who wanders into a bar and is struck not by the quality of the poetry that he hears, but by the zeal with which it is being read.
The Speak Easy Writer’s held their second ‘third Thursday poetry reading’ to raise money for the Kenton County Library and encourage local writers to share their work explained Andrew Casson, the Speak Easy member in charge of their blog and a senior creative writing major.
The group was started four or five months ago when Rudd was asked by Michael Adkins to help start a writer’s workshop. Adkins is getting his masters in social work from NKU.
They have previously helped Room to Read, a charity that promotes literacy in third world countries, but decided to work with something more tangible and local this time said Rudd.
“For tonight I would say this is very much still a learning experience for us. See if we can get people to run out the door half as fast as they did last month” Casson said.
Casson added before the reading started that he would be happy if even one extra person showed to read or listen. There were a total of seven readers this month and a total of 12 viewing the reading; an increase from last month Rudd, who is in charge of media outreach for the group, pointed out.
Together Rudd said he and Adkins came up with the name speak easy as a wordplay on the old speak easies as well as the group being a place where writers could speak about their work openly and get honest feedback in an unpretentious way.
The first meeting was at Barnes and Noble on the levee, but has since moved to two hour meetings every Saturday from 12:30 to 2:30 at Monkey Brew Coffee in Covington.
“Our theory is no one is the instructor. We’re all there to learn from each other and together,” Rudd said.
Casson adds that within their arms reach network they have many varied members who know a lot about different subjects. So one week they may discuss the use of semi-colons and screenwriting or inspiration the next week.
Rudd feels that the motivation to write in one of the biggest things he gets from the Speak Easy Writers.
“Sitting down at the computer or the notebook is the hardest thing to do with writing,” Rudd said. “You got all these ideas in your head, you scribble notes constantly, you have all of these character ideas, but really all you come up with at the end of the week or year is twenty or thirty unfinished manuscripts.”
He enjoys the feeling of needing to show up with something to show each week.
Casson hopes to start either quarterly or annual publications of their work, but for now they have started a blog at www.speakeasywriters.org.
They also post updates about upcoming events, third Thursday poetry readings, and meetings at https://www.facebook.com/speakeasycincy.