UTM students eagerly piled into the Erindale Pump and Patio last Thursday for EDSS’s Poetry Night Live. Students sang, recited slam, danced, and stuffed their faces full of nachos and chicken.
The night began with Tobi Ogude and Dragan Marcic introducing all the performers to the audience before Ogude and Erin Foley recited a slam poetry piece about people on social media who only care about world problems that are “trending” or popular. It drew attention to the lack of real change happening on social media and the lacklustre attitude of those who use it.
Following was Andrew Lie, who performed an acoustic version of “She Will be Loved” by Maroon 5.
Lie’s performance was the first to draw attention to two massive problems: the noise and the servers. It was extremely distracting to see people order food before performances only to have their meals brought to them as students were performing. And hosting an event in a pub is a good idea for a relaxing time, but the noise completely drowned out their performances.
Nancie Jona, an audience member from the Poetry Masterclass, was one of the poets who lost out. Sadly, her incredible piece “The Queen” was nearly incomprehensible due to the surrounding chatter and some of her best lines went unheard.
Marcic came up again to perform a song he said he wrote in 12 hours. His song was the last one performed before the audience indulged in chips and dip during first intermission.
Amina Abdel Wahab was first to sing after the break. She performed two original songs, one about her battle with anorexia and the other about a breakup, but was drowned out by clanging of silverware as the staff cleared the food table. Zara Rizwan followed Wahab to recite poetry.
Corey Belford, a performer among those easy to hear, recited his poem “1,000 Years From Now”, which he confessed was written an hour before he arrived.
Tanya Decarie, who went by her stage name Twiggy Starblade, followed with her slam piece. Decarie had also been at the masterclass and was quiet that day in a small room, let alone a huge space full of people talking. I was sitting very close to the stage and couldn’t hear a word she said, which was very unfortunate.
And due to lack of space, people were soon standing around, blocking the view of those who had a seat, which made it even harder to pay attention…
The good news is that those on stage began to work their way around the room as they performed, giving everyone a chance to hear them. This was what Ogude did when he came back up to recite the piece he did at the masterclass, “Black Man’s Culture”.
Twiggy returned with another poem before audiences were given another intermission.
The UTM Dance Club performed next and completely rocked the small space given them for their routine. Dance Club member Melissa Rosati got up later in the evening to recite a poem.
Foley returned to recite her poem “Some Unholy War”, which was written about Amy Winehouse. Jona also returned after Foley to recite a poem about gender inequality.
Professor Brent Wood of the English department, who teaches “Reading Poetry” and other courses, sang a Leonard Cohen cover. Marcic returned and also sang, covering “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies. He was another one of those who could actually be heard.
Towards the end of the night the audience began texting and munching on leftovers, ready to go home. After an intermission that lasted over half an hour, it was obvious that the audience saw the event as more of a social gathering than a performance.
The event was a success on the whole—people seemed to be into the performances and enjoyed the free food—but I miss the quieter venues.