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The EMU Poetry Society is a student organization at Eastern Michigan University dealing in Fine Arts and Entertainment. The EMU Poetry Society, commonly known as PS, is the first organization at Eastern Michigan to focus primarily on students expressing themselves, as well as many other issues, through poetry. This organization is in its tenth year of existence and has two annual events: Do What You Do Talent Showcase and The Color of Drums, which has included features such as The Last Poets and Jessica Care Moore. The Poetry Society also has a nationally recognized Slam Poetry Team has competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, or CUPSI, every year since its existence. Poetry Society has also participated in HBO’s series Brave New Voices, which is a filming of various students from around the world expressing poetry. PS has created a very diverse fan base, within and out of Eastern Michigan University’s campus. [1]

History[edit]

Before the Poetry Society was founded, EMU’s Black Student Union Hosted a Monthly poetry showcase on the last Friday of every month. Members were so impressed with the monthly poetry showcases; they decided that they wanted to do more than monthly showcases. In the Fall 2000 semester, Gerrard Allen gathered of students around Eastern Michigan University and started an actual student organization for poetry BSU members branched off and started a student organization for Poetry (Officially registered Fall 2001 Sept). The Poetry Society initially started with open mics free to the public and allowed anyone to express themselves through poetry, song, dance, or if they just wanted to talk about their day.

Annual Events[edit]

Poetry Society co-founder, Gerrard Allen, noted that, while students attended the open mics of The Poetry Society, the group wasn’t widely respected as a student organization until it began its serious of widely promoted annual events. The first annual event hosted by the Poetry Society was The Color of Drums. It was inspired by The Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend’s annual event, The Hip-Hop Explosion. PS felt the need to have a more poetic version of the Hip-Hop Explosion, yet different. The Color of Drums made its mark on Eastern Michigan’s campus by being the first MLK Weekend annual event at EMU that incorporates screenplay and poetry. The Color of Drums is intended to express current issues and feelings of individual poets, the campus, and even world events and some of the artists` opinions on them. In The Color of Drums 10 year existence, its audience turn out has been very successful; filling, at least, the first level of seats in Pease Auditorium. [2] In the following year, The Poetry Society incorporated its second annual event, Do What You Do Talent Showcase. PS wanted to incorporate more students in their events, who didn’t do poetry, but wanted to express themselves through other means; which brought forth the idea of a talent showcase. Students asked PS to do more of these events, and it was made annual. Do What You Do has had a variety of talents, such as singing, dancing, acting, poetry, rapping, instrumentals and other talents to show off the variety of talent in the arts at Eastern Michigan University.

Involvement in CUPSI[edit]

The two events set the initial foundation for The Eastern Michigan Poetry Society to stand on. College Union Poetry Slam Invitational is a national slam competition between slam teams from various schools around the country. Since its creation, The Poetry Society has participated in every CUPSI competition. Originally, PS would sell shirts and poetry books, as well as other fundraising, to meet the amount for the team to compete in CUPSI every year. Since 2010, Eastern Michigan Campus Life has paid for the registration fee of the slam team, which consists of four members and an alternate. In 2007, Eastern Michigan University hosted CUPSI, which had a large student turn out throughout the competition. The highest PS has ever placed in CUPSI was second place. This one of the driving forces to push PS to continue competing in hopes they will win first place. [3]

Brave New Voices[edit]

In summer 2010, members of The Poetry Society attended the Brave New Voices Conference in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks Inc. decided to reach out to young poets around the world in hopes to help create different poetry organization for teens and young adults. Recently, Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons began invested in the project and created a TV series on HBO. Chantell King and Tracy Somervell represented the EMU Poetry Society last year and King was selected to be a coach for the newcomers of BNV 2011.

Poetry Society Today[edit]

Over the Poetry Society’s ten year span, it has continuously grown in membership and performance. The Poetry Society has grown to more than twenty members and has nearly tripled their fan base of the years. As of 2011, PS has decided to add a third annual event, the PS Showcase, to display the individual creativity of the various members of the poetry society. Poetry Society has made plans to expand their horizons and express poetry through different ways. This Poetry Society continues to have meeting every Sunday in Eastern Michigan’s Kiva Room at 5:30. These meetings help bring new ideas to help further the progression of the Poetry Society.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Poetry Society Homepage http://emu.collegiatelink.net/organization/poetry-society
  2. ^ The Color of Drums Website http://thecolorofdrums.com/index.html
  3. ^ ACUI.org Articles on Eastern Michigan and CUPSI http://www.acui.org/search.aspx?searchtext=eastern+michigan

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