On Friday, December 1, Concord Academy’s Poetry Club hosted its first Open Mic event of the school year. With the support of English teacher Nancy Boutilier, Poetry Club co-heads Smile Jiang ’24 and Sam Klein ’24 organized the gathering of around twenty students and staff. Many participants performed original work and others’ poetry, too. A handful of the group came as audience members, hoping to support friends in their presentation.

Co-head Smile explained that because Poetry Club hadn’t arranged many big events recently, she and Sam were excited to organize the Open Mic—especially because they wished to connect more with the active writing community they knew existed within CA. Smile also explained that they tried to make the experience as inclusive and open as possible for maximum participation: “We offered options like reading from your seat and flexibility in the order of performances.” The resulting experience exceeded expectations—people smoothly transitioned from one reading to another, and there was a surplus of original work performed, which was also a major goal of the club.

As more and more participants shared their works, rounds of applause and enthusiastic snaps echoed in the Upper Stu-Fac Classroom. Some poems were innovative and hilarious: Nick Hiebert collected lines from CA lost emails of 2019 and rhythmically organized them. Some were intensely performed in a slam poetry style—Nicole Rodriguez Vasquez ’26 utilized expressive, strong hand motions to deliver their original work authentically. The poems presented took on many different forms, from haibuns to free verse.

Additionally, the performances featured a variety of subjects, including but not limited to romance, mental health, the male gaze, the philosophy of life and death, generational relations and trauma, motherhood and daughterhood, the experience of an immigrant, a student, a child, an anomaly, and so much more. The group ended the night having gained a profound understanding, not only of the power of language but of all the people that one is surrounded by. We are all made up of poems, whether they are personal anecdotes or word vomit that encapsulate indescribable, complex emotions. To share any part of ourselves with each other in such a setting is a risk. This Open Mic event was merely one example of the many ways this risk can prove extremely rewarding.