‘Awakenings’: Where poetry ‘ caffeine mix

So, you couldn’t take your sweetheart out for Valentine’s Day and now you’re really in trouble. Why not take her somewhere different, like a romantic evening sipping cappuccino and listening to poetry and a good short story. The Awakenings Coffee House in Crescent Springs is hosting a student and teacher from Northern Kentucky University to share their works of poetry and fiction on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m.

Bryce Warren, a part-time English teacher will read a horror story called “Leila’s Secret.” Jason Ellis, a senior English major, will read a story called “Mr. White’s Beach Dream.” Both stories are quite different in content.

Ellis said of his reading, “It’s a sunny story about a small town Kentuckian who goes to the beach.” Science-fiction fantasy is the type of stories he usually writes, but this one is more mainstream, he said. Ellis gets plenty of practice in writing; he works at the writing center on campus. “People come to us to help them develop their papers,” he said. If you like to write, Ellis said, “Keep writing and make yourself write.”

Writing a story and sharing it with people are two totally different things. “I know what I like and I figure if I like it, somebody else will like it too,” said Ellis. “It’s nice to be able to hear voices of the writing department.”

At the last Awakenings reading in January, almost all the seats were taken. About 25 people came out to have a cup of assorted flavored coffee and enjoyed the readings. “Out of about 50 types of coffee, the top three favorites include; golden pecan, vanilla-nut cream, and double french-roast,” said waiter John Webb. Also on the menu are teas, and an assortment of cookies, crumb cakes and croissants to eat.

“The average attendance ranges from 10-40 depending on the students, friends, faculty and teachers,” said P. Andrew Miller, an associate professor of English, and the readings’ coordinator. “The Awakenings readings have been going on for six and a half years,” he said. “It’s always held on the fourth Thursday of the month except for November because of Thanksgiving.”

David Dysegard is the owner of the coffee shop located in the Buttermilk Crossing Shopping Plaza. “Awakenings has always been nice to us,” said Miller. “We’ve had no limit on content.” The staff at the shop are busy cleaning up as the readings are presented. They said they liked hearing the stories while they worked.

January was the start of this semester’s readings, with P. Andrew Miller sharing a comedy story he wrote called “One Fairy Tale, Hard Boiled.” The short story is about a fairy detective who solves several fairy tale cases. Miller also wrote a book, “The Sword and the Sorceress.”

Along with Miller’s story, poetry was the specialty of Phillis Croy, a senior English major and editor of the “Licking River Review.” “I was 6 years old when I was learning to write,” said Croy. Her work must pass her “gag test.” “If I can take it back out a little while later and still like it, I keep it.” Some of her poems included, “Christmas in a Kiddie Pool,” “This Old Piano,” and “Mental Graffiti.”

Danielle Stegeman, a junior art-history/psychology major, liked having the readings off-campus. “When you get outside the atmosphere, you relate as people, not as students,” Stegeman said. “I think its great exposure for faculty and students to showcase their work and be appreciated for it. I also like the group idea for people to come and witness the readings of local writers.”