Opus opens up spooky mic night


DR. JACK RIDL SPEAKS TO SKELETONS — Professor Stephen Hemenway and former Professor Jack Ridl share poems for the dead. (Hope College)


OPUS SHARING THE LOVE — Opus decided on “Love Poetry for the Dead” as the mic-night theme. Writers shared the love as Halloween approached. (Hope College)

Appropriate to the season, a spooky-themed Open Mic Night was held last week at Kruizenga Art Museum. Opus hosted the event Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.

The theme “Love Poetry for the Dead” was fitting, considering the event’s proximity to Halloween and the beautifully eerie setting created by the Kruizenga’s white walls covered in interesting art. This idea to combine spooky and romantic poetry came from a performance by Jack Ridl and Stephen Hemenway a few decades ago called “Love Poetry to a Skeleton.”

After hearing about the performance, Opus was determined to bring it back to campus. Ridl and Hemenway both read at the event. Grace Hulderman (’18), a Co-Editor- in-Chief of Opus, remarked that “[Ridl and Hemenway’s] participation meant everything to us! They are both such brilliant, kind people and we were honored that they were willing to do the introduction.”

Their introductions, which evoked rounds of laughter from the audience followed by periods of inquisitive reflection, helped set a relaxed and intentional tone for the rest of the evening.

The event was well attended with all 30 seats filled. Opus intended for the reading to be informal and fun so that everyone felt welcome to participate.

Hulderman explained that “while we have to be strict about what gets into Opus, we understand that it can be defeating to be rejected and we wanted the Open Mic Night to provide an open space for people to share whatever was on their hearts/in their heads without fear of rejection or the pressure of a more formal reading.”

Many students signed up to read. Most read several poems, some written by other authors and some original works. The pieces ranged from light- hearted and comedic to serious and haunting, helping to keep the audience engaged. The broad variety of content that was read displayed the ingenuity and talent of Hope College faculty and students.

In their constant search for things fresh, weird and creative, Opus manages to remain an outlet for Hope students to express themselves. Open Mic Night certainly served this purpose.

In regard to Opus’ vision for this year, Hulderman stated that they “are always trying to push boundaries and challenge the accepted idea of what art and poetry are.”

Opus is currently working to produce this semester’s issue of poetry, prose and visual art. If you are eager to hear more from Opus, the fall issue will be released during Opus Soup, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Martha Miller Fried Hemenway Auditorium.

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