Every year, over 700 venues around the world host an event, in which poets (and non-poets) come together to express their concerns for the environment, peace, justice and politics via writing. Our very own Tallahassee had its seventh 100 Thousand Poets for Change on Saturday, September 30th at Black Dog Cafe on the Square (in Railroad Square Art Park) and at 621 Art Gallery. There were 75 poets presenting their works on three stages; one inside Black Dog, one outside (affectionately called the "rage stage"), and one in 621 Gallery. I had no idea this event was happening until I popped on the Tallahassee Arts Guide website and lo and behold, there it was!
It was my first time going to Poets for Change, and I was extremely excited for three reasons: (1) Poetry is one of my favorite things in the world; I love how it can be anything you want it to be -- poems can be long or short, and profound or simple or in-between; (2) I have always been very interested in politics and current events; I want to be involved in what's happening and to learn more about the world and the people in it; and (3) Black Dog Cafe's coffee. I just love it.
When my chauffeur (my dad) and I stepped through the door, we were met with a smattering of applause. I was pleasantly surprised and rather confused, until I realized the applause was for the poet sitting back down among the audience. My dad and I made ourselves at home standing in the back, since the seats were all filled. The next poet to make his way to the front was David Kirby, a renowned poet, National Book Award finalist for poetry, and English professor at Florida State University. His poems blew me away, and I was shocked with the power of words. Through the rest of the night, I couldn't stop thinking about the idea that people were using written words to express their anger, sadness, disappointment, or happiness to the world. How amazing it is, I thought, that people have the tool to broadcast feelings and art to every corner of the Earth.