Sorority hosts spoken word poetry outreach event

Poets may write poems, but they can further express their work through movement or reading when the words are simply not enough to describe their meanings.

Zeta Phi Beta is hosting Spoken WordZ, a poetry event where six poets will share their works with campus.

The sorority will host the event at Wesleyan Auditorium Oct. 26 at 6:20 p.m. Admission is $3 for students upon showing their Mane Card and $5 for general admission.

The event not only reaches out to poetry fans, but also to those who have dealt with suicidal thoughts.

Sorority Adviser Tammy Rhodes, who will also be one of the featured poets, said the event is similar to a poetry slam, but, instead of competing, they will showcase their work.

“The focus to discuss suicide awareness at the event is part of (Zeta Phi Beta’s) social justice platform,” Rhodes said. “(The sorority) always brings awareness to social issues, especially those affecting students, and (suicide awareness) is one of their socially conscious issues that they have chosen for the evening.”

Junior Courtney Green said she presented the idea to the sorority after deciding the community would benefit from an event like this.

“I feel like (the Shoals area) is all about art and musicians, but the art we are lacking is poetry,” Green said.

Green said music will play after the first three poets finish as a way of showing support to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“I want to make sure people who are acting like they are smiling in public, but are really not feeling the best behind closed doors, know that we care about them and (also) understand that life is not always going to (deal) you the good hand,” Green said.

Green said the event’s poetry can help victims of suicidal thoughts by showing them how to express their emotions through poems and, which can give them a new way to help deal with their struggles.

Junior Tycoria Johnson, another member of the sorority, said poetry should remain relevant in modern times because of its unique form of expression.

“Everybody has a different output on how they want to express themselves,” Johnson said.

Green said one of the ways she has grown to love poetry is through watching YouTube videos of poets physically expressing their words.

“I feel like (seeing poets express themselves) puts me with them, so I can understand exactly where they are coming from,” she said. “When you see (poetry) and get the visual, it is like a whole different interpretation.”

Green said the event can draw different emotions from audiences who connect with the works.

“People will be happy, sad (and) shocked,” Green said. “It is just all about how willing (they) are to actually listen.”

Green said she hopes the event will become annual.

Rhodes said the event should encourage any students with issues on their mind to express them.

“Speak your truth,” she said. “There is a lot going on in the world right now. There is (also) a lot happening on our campus, and, sometimes, we have a hard time verbalizing that.”