Keep St. Pete Lit Poetry Open Mic
Nourishes Your Biome
Keep St. Pete Lit’s Poetry Open Mic offers an opportunity for local writers to share their polished or unpolished pieces in a nonjudgmental atmosphere — and it’s a great way to meet new people.
Photos by Daniel Veintimilla, Text by Julie Garisto, May 19, 2017
Creative Pinellas caught up with host, KSPL director Maureen McDole and her lit team last Wednesday night, at the multipurpose space on First Avenue South, a place known for perpetually bringing people together from all different cultural backgrounds; people who work with art, heritage, history, song, literature, theater, moving pictures and moving bodies.
Throughout the evening, McDole provided a mentoring, nurturing presence to the readers, helping them get over the stage fright or embarrassment of their subject matter. She enforces one strict rule: “No apologies,” stressing that the poets can talk about whichever topic they choose — and own it — no matter how dark, depressing or bizarre they think their work may be.
Mixed media works by Rose Marie Prins surrounded us. Her works, mostly inspired by nature, including striking verticals depicting water, provided the perfect backdrop. (Listen to Podcast interview to learn more about the artist.)
The night featured poet, Gloria Munoz — a prolific poet, translator and instructor at Eckerd College — read verse from her recently published thought-provoking poetry collection, Your Biome Has Found you.
Her selection of poems varied impressively in style and mood. One of the more memorable works, The Mother Machine, features a vividly rhythmic sestina with aspects of sewing, inter-generational female bonding and magical realism. Munoz, incidentally, co-founded Pitch Her Productions, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women in film arts.
A few other writers who participated included Kaliegh Derting, Evangelia Maragouthakis, and couple Preston and Jamie Jarvis.
Interested readers are welcome to sign up on arrival. Admission is $5 at the door. Visit keepstpetelit.org for more information on this and other upcoming literary events.