Photo courtesy of Poetic Exchange

Ryerson’s poetry group looking to get competitive

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By Emily Craig-Evans

Ryerson’s first official poetry group is trying to form a competitive spoken word team.

Poetic Exchange — ratified by the RSU in first-semester — holds bi-weekly events for poets, spoken word artists and rappers.

“The events we hold are like a round-table open concept,” said club president Patrick Garcia. “It’s free for anyone to go up on the microphone.”

After gaining 25 active members during first-semester, club president Patrick Garcia and vice-president Julia Ho believe the group is ready to branch out. In fact, they say some members are ready to perform at professional slams.

“We have really experienced, great speakers,” said Ho.

Garcia and Ho created the club after chatting at an open-mic event, realizing they both craved something Ryerson wasn’t offering.

“We wanted an outlet where we could perform [spoken word] and hear people’s feedback,” said Ho.

When 40 students came to Poetic Exchange’s first meet and greet, Ho was excited about the group’s potential.

“That’s when we first realized how many people were interested. We didn’t expect that big of a turn out,” said Ho.

Ho said she got excited when she discovered the diversity of talent and experience among members, ranging from amateur to award-winning slammers.

“Being able to perform in the same room and hear their feedback and actually have my work recognized and be praised as well as critiqued was really cool,” Ho said.

Since its first event, Poetic Exchange has co-hosted performances with other student groups. The club collaborated with Musicians@Ryerson and the Chinese Students’ Association in November to put on the Darkness Concert, where audiences members listened to music and spoken word blindfolded.

The club also held its first inaugural poetry slam the same month. Members competed against each other while executives picked a winner among four finalists. Ho said the executives used the slam as an opportunity to grow and create a smaller team.

“We have members that have been competitions and want to help us form a team,” Ho said.

They hope to maintain the club’s current member base while the small side group travels to competitions.

Ho hopes to recruit more members at Poetic Exchange’s meet and greet on Jan. 22. Bi-weekly ciphers resume Feb. 5.

“We want something that involves a lot of community,” Ho said. “Somewhere people can hear each other’s art work.”

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