Shoutin' Rosebuds shout it out at Social Justice Center

As students at The College of Saint Rose are scrambling in these final weeks before summer to finish up final projects, papers, and portfolios, the students in Daniel Nester's Oral Interpretation of Literature class had a different kind of presentation at the Social Justice Center on Central Avenue in Albany.

As part of the Third Thursday Poetry Night hosted by area poet Dan Wilcox; the monthly event consists of an open mic and a featured poet. On April 17th, 2008, students in Nester's class came together as The Shoutin' Rosebuds of Saint Rose to perform as the featured poets.

The class performed in five groups of three or four students, reading original pieces of poetry in a style that included dancing, pantomime, and acting.

"I'm a little nervous," said Kris Wildermuth, an English major and one of the students performing that evening. He practiced before the event began, reading from a tattered-looking piece of paper.

"I've been carrying this in my pocket for three weeks," Wildermuth said.

Katie Vermilyea, who was not part of the class but is an active member of all things English at Saint Rose, also practiced beforehand outside for a reading as part of the open mic.

The night began with an "invocation of the muse," in which Wilcox read two poems by beat poet Bob Kaufman. Then, the first half of the open mic took place, with numerous announcements of upcoming readings and events taking place between poets. Wilcox is a charismatic host, often exchanging quips with the poets, many of whom he is very familiar with.

There were many announcements as April is National Poetry Month and there are many events taking place throughout the Upstate New York area.

Saint Rose student Chris Petterson read as part of the open mic, reading a poem entitled "The Mosaic Inn," which made use of repetition in a haunting poem about a man troubled with sleeping problems.

When it became time for Nester to read for the open mic, Wilcox decided to break for the featured poets, allowing Nester to introduce his students. But first, Wilcox shared the story of how the Shoutin' Rosebuds and the Third Thursday Poetry Night came together.

Last year as part of the Oral Interpretation of Literature class, Nester brought down the entire class to sign up and read for the open mic as part of the Third Thursday Poetry Night.

"This year, I said, why don't we just make them the feature," said Wilcox.

Nester then read a poem about his first kiss entitled "Barbaric Classical" which was very well-received. He then explained the unusual group-style of the featured poets, saying "you'll get it when you see it."

The first group performed a piece entitled "Dancers," and included appropriate choreography for the title of the poem.

Next up was a four-piece group, performing a piece called "Inspiration" that played off motivational cliches to make social statements.

The third group performed a political anti-Bush piece entitled "The Governmenty One," which received thunderous applause from the packed house.

"Real Beauty," the fourth group's piece, was an entertaining performance about advertising, self-image, and the products sold in late-night infomercials.

The last group performed "Superman Without the Phone Booth," a geek power anthem that finished off the featured poets' performance perfectly.

After the performance, a short break was taken to collect donations and to allow the audience to stretch their legs before moving on with the open mic list. Donations collected help to pay for featured poets, as well as cover printing costs for flyers advertising the Third Thursday Poetry Night.

During the break, each of the featured poets was paid one dollar for their performance, and each student swiftly donated back the dollar to Wilcox and the poetry series. Students mingled outside with other poets, taking pictures and discussing the event.

After the break, the audience was treated to an encore performance by Vermilyea of her "AC/DC cento" comprised of rock band ACDC lyrics into a feminist anthem, complete with fists in the air and squeaking vocals.

At the end of the night, Wildermuth and Vermilyea had nothing to be worried about. The performances all went off without a hitch, and Saint Rose now officially has eighteen new paid, professional poets.

© Copyright 2009 The Saint Rose Chronicle

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