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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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Women’s Center hosts annual poetry event downtown

For Stephanie Longmire, reading her poetry feels like her diary is opening on a projector.

Longmire, a senior liberal studies major, performed her poetry Thursday night at the Women’s Center event titled “The World Split Open: Women and Poetry.”

The event, which took place at Grounds for Thought, was hosted in recognition of National Poetry Month, said Jean Greene, office manager of the Women’s Center on campus. The event was meant to give people a safe place to express themselves, Greene said.

“Just really sharing your world with other people and in sharing, you find your story is not always yours alone,” Greene said.

This is one of the reasons Longmire performs her poetry.

Longmire used to go to “open mics” by herself and say her poem and go home and not tell anyone because it was so secret, she said.

“Now I realize that I’m not the only one,” she said. “I am not afraid to say it because I hope someone will hear it and say ‘me too.’”

Longmire hopes that people hearing her poetry will help them out and help them get through situations she speaks of, such as rape, discrimination, hatred and “really horrible” relationships.

“Just painful stuff,” Longmire said. “I want them to get that it’s a common struggle and if they go through it, they’re not alone.”

Longmire performs poetry because she has to tell, there’s no reason for her not to, she said.

“I would have loved for someone to say these things when I was going through it,” she said.

Longmire was one of about 10 men and women who performed.

The event featured two poets, Anna Rose Welch and Abigail Cloud, and then the floor was opened to The Uppity Women’s Poetry Workshop and people who wanted to perform during the open mic portion.

Kaylyn Messenger, a freshman, attended the event because she’s always been into poetry and she heard about it in one of her classes.

“It was a good experience,” Messenger said. “I felt like I related more to the younger poets. I kind of write my own [poetry], it’s kind of like what I would write.”

Longmire read all of her poems from memory.

“I feel it connects more,” she said. “When you have it in your head … it’s more emotional when you’re just talking.”

This was the second year the event was hosted, and Greene said the Women’s Center plans to continue hosting the event every year.

“Turn out was awesome, I counted over 60 people in attendance,” Greene said. “The response from audience members was very supportive.”

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