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Poetry, rap, food and more wow crowd at annual Off the Shelf open-mic event

By Phillip Milano

Street rhymes, classic and original poetry, raps, word-riffs, songs and even “zombie” and iPod poems were all part of an entertaining afternoon April 5 at the annual Off the Shelf open-mic on the Swisher Library lawn.

While students and staff munched on chili and slaw dogs and chips under bright sunlight, brave souls got up to share their talents before a crowd that ebbed and flowed with class changes and lunchtime activities.

“This is a way to recognize all the talent at JU during National Poetry and National Library Month,” said David Jones, director of the library, who puts together the annual gathering.

Learning Center Coordinator Jody Kamens, another organizer, called it a way to make poetry “accessible and fun,” while Char Wedge, director of academic engagement, emphasized the community aspect of it all. 





“It really brings the students, faculty and staff together, where we can share our abilities, have lunch and just be outside on our beautiful campus,” Wedge said. “Words are very important to our human existence.”

In addition to faculty and staff, various students took to the lectern as well, including Rolando Fines, a senior in exercise science, who for the first time stood up and spoke to honor his deceased grandmother, and Jamaal Coleman, a sophomore in exercise science, who shared poetic feelings about his mother.