The three Western students, who together formed our feature presentation, were excellent. They so impressed their audience that it became obvious to organizers that full-scale feature poets will emerge from this trio in future. They were Helen Ngo, who is the current Student-Writer-in-Residence at Western, and two fellow students whom she invited, Robyn Obermeyer and Tom Ruess.
This is the second season we have featured three Western students (the previous was two seasons ago). It has been such a success and so enjoyed by both the audience and the students that in future it will be a regular yearly event.
The Student Writer-in-Residence Program at Western is unique in North America. It was developed here in 2013 by the University Students’ Council and the Department of English and Writing Studies. The mandate of the program is to provide support for an accomplished undergraduate writer while allowing other students to benefit from that writer’s creativity, expertise, and organizational skills. The SWIR fosters exchange among aspiring student writers and contributes to the culture of creativity across campus, within the London area (which is where London Open Mic comes in), and across literary genres, media, and technologies.
The February open mic section was once again a tribute to the diversity of poetry genres, styles, the many variations on reading aloud, and of course, and especially, a tribute to the extremely diverse population of human beings which constitutes the poetry community.
That diversity could not possibly show its face in a more extreme or obvious way than it did when yours truly, Organizer Stan, a formerly very shy, and currently semi-shy poet, read his soft "Moccasin Bells" midway through the open mic. It was immediately followed by an extremely loud reading, read as if this were a heavy metal concert. The speaker plug was pulled however, frayed nerves relaxed once again, and on we went. Most of our initial audience of 42 had steeled themselves through the rough bit and now sat back, glass in hand. Spring had arrived.