Poetry @Tech, February 20th

The Gold Goes to Sands

On Thursday night, February 20th, I went to another Poetry @ Tech event. I was eager to go to this particular event because I excitingly anticipated seeing the poets we had talked about during my Creative Writing class. Specifically, Jon Sands was the poet I was most enthusiastic to see because his YouTube videos I viewed suggested he was a refreshing, exhilarating, and genuine young poet. However, all the poets pleasantly surprised me, for Jon Sands, Jeffrey McDaniel, and Vivek Sharma were all outrageous and entertaining. Their poetry was candid and honest, and most important to me, very personal. None of these poets held back their sincerest emotions, and I appreciated that for it allowed me to see the truest building blocks of their poems. After the event I had the opportunity to talk to Jon Sands and he was just as personal as his honest poems. Overall, I would say the event was a success- the continuous laughter that filled the audience was the poets’ metaphorical gold medal.

Vivek Sharma was the first poet of the night, and he began the event with personal stories of his Indian culture. I tremendously appreciated the first poem he read, for it was a Thomas Lux original, said once in English and another time in Hindi. I appreciated this unique reading of the poem because it was a wonderful tribute to Thomas Lux. Personally, I found it very interesting to hear this poem, ‘It’s the Little Towns I Like’, in a language other than English. Overall, I enjoyed Sharma’s reading; he made the audience laugh, and at times he laughed along, which I found to be very special. However, there were a few things I found to be a little disturbing about his poems. One aspect of his poetry that I thought could be improved upon was the prosey content. Sharma’s poems were filled with interesting stories and dedications to his loved ones. But, they appeared to be magnificent short stories rather than a creative assembly of words. Furthermore, Sharma read his poems with vapid hand movement, and although I appreciated him using his hands to help act out his poems, at times it was a bit distracting.

Jon Sands was the event’s next poet, and while Vivek Sharma read, I could not help but be very excited for Sands’ reading. Sands began with his poem titled, ‘Moons Over My Hammy’, and this tore the audience into laughs and contentment. The poem was blunt and honest, and from the standpoint of a twenty-year-old critic, the poem was very ‘awesome’. There were tons of pop-culture references and dedications to his sixteen-year-old life, and he was capable of doing all this while remaining poetic. Some of Sands’ poems were morbid; however, they were full of figurative language and they talked about feelings, and the moroseness of the poems was put to ease by the magic of the congregation of words in the poems. The poem, ‘For my Brother Ben and my Brother Wendel on Their Wedding Day’ was a very interesting love poem, and something particularly fascinating to me was that this poem successfully proved that the speaker of a poem does not have to be the poet himself. This poem talked of love and romance from the perspective of one in love, and it was apparent to me that this was not Jon Sands. Overall, I thought Jon Sands was an amazing poet. I was not sure if Jeffrey McDaniel could exceed Sands’ impressive works.

Jeffrey McDaniel was the last poet of the night, and as soon as he stepped foot on the stage, without introducing himself or saying a word to the audience, he jumped right into a poem. I did not even know the title of this poem, and although some audience members might have enjoyed McDaniel’s quickness, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Nevertheless, McDaniel was also a very exciting poet, and he too, made the audience laugh, and at the point where he mentioned his closeness with Professor Thomas Lux, the audience realized and appreciated the true sincerity of McDaniels. During McDaniel’s reading, I must admit, my head was still wrapped around the words of Jon Sands. Sands had his audience so involved in his reading that he even asked questions to the room of spectators, which I admired. Jeffrey McDaniel’s did not do this, and his poems still maintain life; however, when he used the words anus and penis in his poetry, I couldn’t help but wince. Perhaps this is my maturity speaking; nevertheless, I am sure that had Sands mentioned these words in his poems, I would have stood from my chair and clapped my hands with fervor.  Nevertheless, I suppose it was because Sands exceeded my expectations that I felt McDaniel did not completely enliven me.

Overall, the Poetry @ Tech event on February 20th was an unquestionable success. Each poet had the audience laughing and smiling, and the content of their poems were particularly personal. By being especially personal, the audience had a special view into the poets’ insides; we got to see the makeup of each poet, and it was inspiring to see how each poet was stimulated by similar content- their friends, family, loved ones, and the places and cultures they were raised. February 20th was a fantastic event, and I truly look forward to reading more works by Sands, McDaniel, and Sharma.