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PLU Open Mic featuring Rhiannon McGavin

PLU Open Mic was an intense experience last Thursday September 8th with featured poet Rhiannon McGavin.

Mo opened round one with a poem about ‘making jazz to  you’, about finding strokes, about getting on, off, etc. James and Jonathan performed a duet to James’ song about gardens older than me and grandma’s begonias that he plants for free. Katie did a smacking cover of 99 luftballons to which the host may or may not have sung along. Simon read two poems, one about an afternoon in the library and silence being the ocean and seeing light in drops of black, the other about a picture taken at 6:30pm. The poem was missing a line and he asked for anyone to find it for him, but the audience failed to follow through and it is probably still missing that line. Lara posed as an alien civilization contacting earth after receiving their mixtape, or the Voyager golden record. Who knew that extraterrestrial civilizations could be Bonnie Tyler fans? Ferdinand told a story about a horrible car-pooling experience in an overpopulated car with French travelers going to get weed in Amsterdam.

Featured poet Rhiannon read poems in both French and English, reciting a thoroughly moving piece about dust simpering through dawn, tripping over sonnets and the ghosts of trolley cars.

Steve opened round two describing his current webseries project runawaypoets and showing the first episode on the projector. Ben blessed everyone by blowing from a big horn, then sang a love song. Conor read from Beckett, a piece about regretting everything and about mothers’ mother’s fathers and fathers’ mothers’ fathers. Rhiannon came back with a poem about growing boys, and digging holes just deep enough to pat it down gentle gentle. Charlotte invited everyone to reserve their end of october for Tapis Théatre, a play taking place in a living room (contact for further information). She read a piece about it not being ‘your going that makes me cry but the speed at which you go’, and holding heartache in a cup.

Molly performed! Emily had her doing high-fives, sitting, lying, and she almost got her to do the full back-roll, which she didn’t quite do on the stage but performed after the round outside, the the delight of the stragglers.

Jonathan read a poem in Hungarian, Swahili and Morse, then in English with consonants removed, then silently in Mandarin. Mayssan read a poem, ‘Spoonfuls’, about people grinding their teeth and caching la solitude, and then one about the many layers she wore one day on her mother’s house and how they weighed and were picked at. Oto read a poem about the sinusoïdal curves of a math teacher’s butt. James closed the round with a touching song about flying away.

Rhiannon McGavin is the 2016 Los Angeles’ Youth Poet Laureate. She won the 2015 Cal State Los Angeles Annual French Poetry Contest and has performed on the Queen Latifah Show. More about her at Some of her poems can be purchased at A book of her poems is coming out in 2017, to be published by Nuyorican press.

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