It takes a lot of courage to show your writing to somebody, let alone a room full of rapt strangers, plus a nonplussed Aikman’s barman polishing a pint glass in the corner and silently judging your use of iambic pentameter. Inklight is an idiosyncratic society, yet also a very warm and welcoming one. Everyone from wobbly-legged first years toting poetry written during A-Level angst and gap yah excess, to students for whom English isn’t even their first language, found the courage to clutch the microphone with trembling (and slightly sweaty) hands and read out their work.
Aikman’s on Bell Street often plays host to Inklight Open Mic events, where anyone brave or intoxicated enough can perform their own compositions. The pub was stuffed full of both idle and attentive listeners, the crowded venue and positive reception setting a great precedent for the rest of the year. The format is simple; if you want to read out your work, you email the Inklight team (on firstname.lastname@example.org) with that intention, though they are equally open to people spontaneously turning up on the night, or having a sudden burst of confidence in their own abilities following their third Jack and Coke.
The poetry pieces varied from a rap about ‘my girl Mary-Jane’ whose rhymes really used and abused the thesaurus; a few translations; an ode to women’s hosiery ‘All of the Tights’, the writer asking us to ‘imagine this in the tune of the Kanye West song’; an Irish folk song ‘Where Is My Wild Rose’; plus one extremely meta poem about struggling to find anything worthy to write about.
Naturally, some of the evening’s offerings were not to my taste; however due to the variety of submissions being so vast and the length of each performance so short, the evening was a wonderfully eclectic success. I had a chat with Carly Brown, Inklight President, after all the poets had gone home (presumably to fulfil more creative ventures), and talked about the exciting things Inklight has planned for this year…
LF: ‘Hi Carly, how do you think tonight went? And will there be many more open-mics this semester?
CB: ‘It’s great to see so much enthusiasm so early on, and it was nice that the people who read not only had good material but had obviously thought about the performance aspect of it as well. Yes – there will be monthly open-mic nights, for dates check our Facebook group, as well as weekly writer’s workshops and two poetry slams a semester!’
LF: What exactly is a poetry slam? And how can someone get involved?
CB: Poetry slams are like Open Mic, but with a competitive aspect! Anyone is welcome, come along with your best work and perform to a crowd of poetry fans and audience judges for a chance to win a prize… It gets pretty intense, but it’s a lot of fun. Then the winners from all the poetry slams compete in a Grand Slam in semester two!
LF: Sounds intense. What other inky plans does the society have for the year?
CB: There is the National Novel-Writing Month in November, where you have (yup, 30 days) to write a novel. We also publish an annual creative writing journal later in the year. Plus we are looking at hosting our own special event called the Moth Ball, watch this space…
LF: Say goodbye to writer’s block I guess!
Photos courtesy of Mrija Gupta. To see more, visit the Inklight Facebook page.