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IU Office of Diversity & Inclusion led open poetry night at BloomingTea

A quaint teahouse was transformed into a forum for poets to express themselves. BloomingTea organized a poetry night at 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

Shelves of numerous porcelain tea cups and saucers mixed with wooden furniture and decor lined the space and made for an intricate, yet warm and cozy ambiance.

The audience varied from people pursuing poetry as a profession to renowned poets and to willing listeners who appreciate poetry. 

The featured speaker for the night was IU English professor Ross Gay, an award-winning poet whose accomplishments include winning the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

“I love poetry because of how free the medium is,” said IU sophomore Isabel Garcia who is studying gender studies and creative writing. 

Garcia performed her own original piece in front of the audience. This was an on a whim decision and occurred after she asked Gay how to get over the fear of being seen.

One of Gay’s poems, which he read to the crowd, was an ode called “To the Mistake,” where he took a frank approach to the gifts that human error can bring. This piece was inspired by an acid trip in which he envisioned a reptilian gym teacher, believed himself to probably look like an “opaque cloud” and then encouraged students to “let go and listen to the tongue’s/half-wit/brilliance.” 

“I’m very interested in classrooms as places of collaboration and care; that’s sort of my main curiosity about classroom spaces,” Gay said when detailing how instead of punitive schooling, there should be labor devoted to achieve this collective reformation mentioned in his poem. 

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