Outlet, a spoken word poetry event
Thursday, November 7, 7 – 9 p.m.
Red Raven Espresso Parlor
Red Raven/Outlet event on Facebook
The world of the early adult in 2013 is fraught with perils many of us didn’t need to worry about even five or ten years ago, like Facebook bullying or the prevalence of new illicit (and prescription) drugs. And yet, so many elements of young adulthood will never change. The unsteady steps forward with a social self, the contentious relationships with authority, and the bewildering world of sex all conspire to make the teen experience some of the most wildly erratic times in anyone’s life … and some of the most exuberant.
Hannah Westerholm wants to find the beauty in those experiences. A senior at Fargo South High School, she saw these factors weighing on her friends and peers and is turning to a tried and true platform for them to relate to each others’ experience: poetry. She and a group of friends are behind Outlet, a new slam poetry series to be held at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor, that aims to both return a regular performance poetry series to the Fargo area and help peers navigate the ins and outs of young adult life.
“The main focus of it is to help these people work through issues,” Westerholm said, “My friend Jackie and I were both going through stuff, and we felt that so many people could benefit from something like this. Teens can take the stress from relationships, family stuff, college prep, and put all that in a positive way. They can listen to others or perform them instead of turning to alcohol and drugs.”
Outlet will feature a fairly loose setup, with a few scheduled performers to bookend an open mic period. Westerholm, an avid theatre student who plans on studying acting when she goes off to college, also said she created the event to encourage her fellow theatre lovers to perform in a new and exciting venue.
She added that poetry has been a difficult sell for some students but that the rejection only fuels her fire.
“Some of the students I’ve talked have been really excited, but a few have also seen it as pretentious, and that gets us excited in a different way. Poetry speaks to people differently, and the best thing we can do is encourage them to try it.”
“I’m a little nervous, but with this lineup of people it’s going to be a really fun experience, so I’m more excited than nervous. We’ve built this environment to be supportive and not edgy. It’ll be a kind of therapy for people to come speak their mind.”