Off the page and onto the stage

The USF Tampa Library will offer students a chance to experience a raw form of expression tonight. The Poetry Jam will be held at the Starbucks in the Library from 7 to 9. The event will feature uncensored original works from USF students, faculty and staff.

There are at least 16 people planning to perform, one of whom will perform a poem or two in Arabic. During the intermission, there will be a musical performance by USF student Lamar Robinson promoting his new CD.

Information Specialist for Library Systems Kenyatta Harris wants students to utilize the Library for more than studying purposes. She hopes the event will help students view the Library as a place to interact with friends and hang out.

“We designed this as a way for students to get away from class and enjoy things a little more, while enjoying the arts at the same time,” Harris said.

Eric Hughes, a graduate student in library science and linguistics, will read two poems. After attending last semester’s event, he said he looks forward to hearing the creativity expressed by fellow performers.

“Everyone has different personalities and things they are passionate about,” he said. “There is a lot of confidence involved in a poetry reading. It is especially interesting when you get good readers that are animated. And the chance to hear other languages spoken, that’s going to be interesting.”

Unlike previous Poetry Jams, performers will be recorded and placed on the Internet via podcast.

“We are going to audio record the poets, and there will also be pictures,” Harris said. “We want to do a podcast on our Web site of the actual performance, so people can go later on two to three months down the road and see the performances.”

Each participant will receive a gift pack put together by Diana Matthews, graduate assistant in the School of Library and Information Sciences. Gift packs usually include performance tickets, along with smaller items such as mouse pads and book lights. Matthews is also in charge of all the marketing and administration work of the Poetry Jam. This is the first time she has been involved with Poetry Jam and expects it to be a big event for the Library.

“From what I hear it’s a really big draw, and that surprises me a little,” Matthews said. “I wouldn’t have thought students would be so interested, but they definitely are. It’s one of the biggest events that we have.”

Previous Poetry Jams have proved to be both successful and entertaining, Hughes said. The poetry was excellent, and the performers captivated the audience with their unique presentations.

“It was very exciting, and you get wrapped up into it,” Hughes said. “That’s when you know you’re experiencing something really good, when you’re really involved and engaged in the listening.”

Expected to be a one-of-a-kind event, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and listen to the creativity expressed by their peers.

“It is one of the really unique events on campus,” Matthews said. “Even if students can stop by for a few minutes to hear some poetry, I feel like a lot of them will be inspired to branch out and explore their own creativity – perhaps even write poetry and think about things in a different light.”