Closet poets come out, Stephen Willems performs at TerPoets

Featured writer Stephen Willems used students to help him and perform and spoke with them afterwards. Photo by Molly Morris

By Colby Smith

Staff Writer

I’m sort of a poet in private,” said senior Tom Gerald to a group of almost 50 students attending the bi-weekly TerPoets event at Dorchester Hall. “I guess you could say this is me coming out.”

Gerald was one of the many first-time readers at TerPoets on Tuesday. Almost half of the participants in the open mic section of the event performed for their first time.

Students read poetry and prose, sang songs, played guitar, beat-boxed and did stand-up comedy.  Several performers have read before, such as senior David Clifford Turner.

What keeps them coming back?

It’s a really nice atmosphere,” Turner said. “People respond really well.”

After more than an hour of student presentations, featured speaker Stephen Willems, 20, took the stage.  He asked the audience to set aside all of the other stuff going on in their lives and relax.

You’re all going to be OK,” he said and opened with a poem set to music.

Willems, an Maryland native, often interrupted his poems to tell stories and interact with the crowd. He requested feedback, asking if he should read one or two poems, happy or serious. He also asked for volunteers to join him on stage.

I like to have an intimate relationship between the performer and the audience,” Willems said. “That’s why I write. I write to help others — and myself.”

Willems can be heard on WKIM radio in Delaware. Find out more about him at his website.

View more photos from TerPoets here.

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