Love is in the ear

by Madeline Smith

The approach of Valentine’s Day can incur great excitement, anxiety and despondency. Last week, members of Harvard's spoken word poetry group Speak Out Loud reflected on the love-hate relationship many of us have with the holiday in their Valentine’s Day-themed showcase: Speak Out for Love.

The event, held in the laid-back and cozy Ticknor Lounge, was an opportunity for poets and poetry-lovers to gather, eat abundant chocolate, and celebrate the highs and lows of love. The program featured a diverse set of poets, and for some it was their first foray into spoken word poetry.

While the theme of love was present in all of the poetry, this was not your average night of "Roses are red." Poems about non-romantic love, about break-ups, and about waiting earnestly for the Special One outnumbered those about blissful romance, but the night remained light-hearted and full of laughter.

At intermission, the audience was encouraged to participate in a "dirty haiku" battle. Audience members went head-to-head against each other, reading just-written bawdy haikus aloud, to the enthusiastic and supportive crowd.

This showcase was organized in part to help fundraise for Speak Out Loud’s CUPSI team—a group that will be traveling to California in April to participate in the annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational—an exciting development for the 18-month old club.

To get involved with Speak Out Loud, check out the Facebook page!

[Caption: Miriam Braimah '13 competes in the preliminary poetry slam in November of last year, which secured her place as one of the members of the five-person Harvard Slam Poetry team (photo by Chyi-Dean Shu).]