Poetry series returns to GCC
By Dani Horn
The Free Association Poetry Series returns to Glendale Community College’s campus Wednesday, Feb. 18 to deliver students an all new dose of rhythm and rhyme.
The group features different types of spoken word performances by many noted poets. The event is also open to any one who might want to try their hand at a verse or two for the first time.
“Presenters have included world champions in poetry slams and well-published poets and fiction writers,” said GCC English Faculty member, Laura White. “[But] the open mic component has also been a venue for students, faculty, staff and the community to share their creative works. Anyone can participate. It’s open to the public.”
Listeners can expect to hear a wide array of verse and lyrics with no filter placed on creative expression.
“Poetry and prose fiction are performed. There are no restrictions on style or content. There is no censorship,” White said. “As a result, we have had diverse and varied works over the years.”
Free Association has been performing monthly since 2009 and it attracts a large crowd to GCC’s Student Union. It is hosted by veteran Phoenix poet and author, Shawnte Orion.
“At the first event, we had more than 150 participants. We’ve averaged 50 participants at every event [since then].” White said. “Shawnte Orion became the host when [its founder] Jessica Standifird left in early 2010. He has been the heart of the event since.”
Orion brings new poets and seasoned authors from all over the Valley together for a chance to share their art with the world.
“I schedule one or two established poets to go along with the open mic each month,” Orion said. “These poets are often established writers who have has many accomplished slam backgrounds, books, etcetera. There are some regulars, some come all the way from Scottsdale”
The platform that the event provides lets many people share their unique views with others in a face-to-face way with various poetic expressions.
“All kinds [of poetry is performed],” Orion said. “It’s one of the most concise and direct methods for conveying experiences.”
The Free Association Poetry Open Mic event is taking place in the Student Union from 7-9:30 p.m. and is free to the public. Participants can sign up upon arriving.