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Open Mic moves Mills students

The Place For Writers, a Mills-based literary community ran by graduate English students, kicked off this semester’s roster of after-hours literary events with its bi-annual Open Mic Night.

On  Sept. 6, Mills Hall’s elegant living room was packed with undergrad and graduate students, faculty and friends eager to hear and perform poetry. Seventeen students ranging from first-years to graduates shared their works, touching on themes like identity, love, sex, nature and mental illness. For three of these talented poets, it was their first Open Mic Night ever.

Tyrice Deane, MC of the night’s Open Mic and poetry graduate student, echoed the sentiments of the crowd.

“What an honor it is to be experiencing these poets for their first time on stage,” Deane said.

Each performance was followed by roaring applause rather than the traditional coffee-house snaps. The atmosphere was animated and inspiring, leaving no room for judgement or criticism.

Rose Gonzales Barillas (a.k.a. Mimi), a graduate student who has been performing standup comedy for years, tickled the audience with some impromptu humor before sharing her equally hilarious poetry. She and many others lauded Mills College and The Place For Writers for bringing such a supportive community of students together and creating a space for unbridled expression.

The courage and confidence of the poets was felt by everyone in attendance. Performers were able to deeply express personal emotions and experiences within the safe space created by The Place For Writers.

“The poets’ vulnerability allowed the audience to connect with them and one another,” Elza Kiperts said.

Chelsie Crilly, a sociology junior, admitted that she “came for the free wine, but was pleasantly surprised.” She is one of many students who cannot wait for the next gathering of Mills’ unique and uplifting literary community.

The Place For Writers organizes several Open Mics throughout the year, along with several other programs and events focused on highlighting and supporting Mills writers. Hosts of the event encourage students who want to perform their work on stage to sign up for their next Open Mic.