Yesterday’s Virtual Wednesday Night Poetry, hosted by poet/author Kai Coggin, introduced us to the theme of Heroes. This theme invites us to break down our walls and open ourselves up to vulnerability during times that plague us with pain, fear, sickness, loneliness, civil and racial unrest, and growing political tension. Volume 25 of WNP welcomed us with the likes of Bay Area poet/author Kelly Grace Thomas, award-winning Tennessee poet BornToWrite the Poet – otherwise known as Lydia Cook, Alabama poet/author Charlotte Pence, and Austin poet/author Allyson Whipple.
Kai Coggin opened the night with a call of praise to the black woman – with the mention of Breonna Taylor – taking us out of poetic trance to remind us of the raw reality of this country’s racial dynamic. Passing the mic off to BornToWrite the Poet, we are invited on the journey of discovering what it means to be a hero in Love and Revolution, as the world casts a harsh and judgmental eye on the lived experiences of black women. Charlotte Pence offers us the perspective of what it looks like to be a hero whilst coping with illness and facing mortality. Kelly Grace Thomas then beckons us to question how we can be heroes to our own bodies and the desire to be heroes for those in our lives on the receiving end of racism and xenophobia. Closing with Allyson Whipple, we reminisce on the having, losing, and hiding of love, as well as finding strength and wisdom in the mundane.
With the virtual format, what would normally feel like the poet speaking to the audience now feels much more personal. We are brought into the sacred space of each poet as we explore not just poetry, but the release of what weighs heavy on the mind as we collectively experience the traumas of this country and world through our screens. A connection like this is necessary for communal healing, however awkward and difficult it may be to navigate a virtual set up. I appreciate getting to curate my own sacred space with the help of the amazing featured poets. Regardless, I can’t help but feel disappointed that I must partake whilst locked inside my apartment; but am grateful that Kai Coggin has done the work to make WNP as accessible as reality permits.
If you’re interested in checking out WNP, head on over to https://www.facebook.com/WednesdayNightPoetry, and don’t hesitate to check out all the amazing featured artists while you’re there.