MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- As the sun goes down behind the horizon, a small group of people met for their monthly meeting Oct. 24 at the Harriotte B. Smith Library here to share their poetic works.
The library holds a monthly Open Mike Poetry Night for service members and civilians alike to share their work with each other.
Poets write their name on a slip of paper if they are going to read their poetry at the beginning of the night. The papers are used to create a reading order for the poets, said Jackie Howell, program coordinator for the library. Each poet reads one poem of up to a page long before relinquishing the podium. The poets take turns reading their work until they run out of poems, or time runs out.
“We do it on a monthly basis because it gives everyone time to get fresh stuff,” said Howell. “Some people have stacks of stuff and others are just starting out.”
The poetry reading is also open for people to listen, said Howell.
“Sometimes people will come to listen and will write while they are here and by the end read a poem,” said Howell.
The poetry nights have been held for a year and grew from the teenager poetry readings, said Howell. Many adults were asking the library if there was a night set up for them to read.
The poems vary as much as the people reading. Retirees, dependents, civilian employees and service members read poems about family, past events, lost lovers, sensual encounters and sometimes cats.
“I think it’s important that everyone who writes has permission to write and read their work,” said Jim Wayne, civilian employee and published poet who attends the readings. “Many Marines have written and read and we want to hear what they have to say.”
One of the Marines to read at the reading was Lance Cpl. Kelly Rose Brodmerkel, a brig guard at the Military Correctional Facility here.
“I have a lot on my mind and I thought it would be interesting to find out what this was all about,” said Brodmerkel. “This is the first time I’ve read in front of people I didn’t know. I don’t see why I won’t come back. It’s a friendly crowd.”
The reading is a creative outlet for patrons of the base, said Howell.
“I like the idea that you can say so much with so few words,” said Nancy King, a published local poet, who has had more than 250 poems published in journals. “I do it because it’s fun.”
The next poetry reading will be held on Nov. 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information call the main side library at 451-3026.