Poetry jam to focus on mental health

Co-sponsors raise awareness through spoken word


Isaac Wahl

Parkway Pizza hosts trivia April 6 in part- nership with the SLP Nest. The SLP Nest is also sponsor- ing the poetry jam April 18.

Marta Hill

As the poetry jam at yum! kitchen and bakery rapidly         approaches SLP Nest board member Lara Cleveland said she hopes it will attract a diverse group.

“I think (the poetry jam) will be a fun time to hear about other people’s experiences and share words,” Cleveland said. “I would love to see people of all different ages and from all walks of life.”

According to executive director of SLP Friends of the Arts (SLP FOTA) Jamie Marshall, the April 18 poetry jam will be a chance for people to share their work.

“The poetry jam is an open-mic style poetry jam at the yum! kitchen and bakery. It is an opportunity for the SLP community to come out and read their original poems or, if time allows, favorite poems from other authors,” Marshall said.

Marshall said the poetry jam is an opportunity for varied people to share their work.

“It is a chance for people to come together who are interested in poetry, people of all ages and abilities, from first time writers to more active and have been writing for many years,” Marshall said.

Cleveland said the poetry jam focuses on raising awareness to eradicate the stigma around mental health.

“The theme is around mental health and so the first poetry or spoken word accepted to go up and read or recite or share their words will be those that have themes around mental health,” Cleveland said.

Sophomore SLP Nest board member Cole Nugteren said this event is a way for people to express themselves and learn about mental illness.

“It is a great outlet for people who have a lot to say about mental health,” Nugteren said. “I think it is good if you have a friend who is presenting to come and listen to help you understand.”

According to Cleveland, SLP Nest hopes this event draw attention to mental health and how it affects Park.

“I think we wanted to have this particular event highlight mental health, mental wellbeing, so this was one way to raise awareness,” Cleveland said.

Nugteren said listening to poetry about mental health can help people understand what others are experiencing.

“Learning about other people’s lives and other people’s perspectives, is key to being a balanced person,” Nugteren said. “It is better for communities with mental health issues to talk about this stuff so everyone can understand.”

Marshall said people should come to the poetry jam to experience poetry in a way that makes it more accessible.

“I think that poetry is a really intimate art form and that when you study it, it kind of has a barrier to it — it seems a little obscure. What our event shows is that it is a really accessible art form” Marshall said.

Nugteren said he thinks mental health problems can be helped by communication.

“I think a lot of mental health problems arise because people don’t have a good outlet or don’t have a lot of good people to talk to about it. If you are able to talk about it, it is a good step toward recovering,” Nugteren said.

According to Marshall, SLP FOTA hopes to reach more high school students with this event.

“By partnering with SLP Nest for this event we are hoping to reach more high school students and create some more intergenerational events and opportunities,” Marshall said.

Marshall said he thinks the poetry jam is a way to bring the Park community closer together.

“It is a way to connect with your community in a creative way,” Marshall said. “Right now our community needs to come together in ways that are positive and supportive.”

The poetry jam will be from 6-8 p.m. April 18 at yum! kitchen and bakery. For more information visit SLP FOTA or SLP Nest’s Facebook.