Poetry draws crowd at Capitol
Some people sat on lawn chairs and others lounged in the grass while everyone waited for the annual Poetry in the City to start.
Poets from Lansing and as far as Detroit came to the Capitol building for the free annual event put on by Rina Risper last Thursday. Poetry in the City allows anyone to step up to the mic and recite original or previously published poetry.
MSU alumnus Drew Ramsey-White was one of the first poets to perform and said he was grateful for the event because it gave people a place for their voice.
“It gives a voice to us. Everybody is a poet. It doesn’t mean you have to go to graduate school or be a published author, but it gives a voice to communicate to the people,” he said.
Poetry in the City creator Rina Risper has been hosting the event since 2006. She said the event began in parks around Lansing three or four times a year and has evolved to what it is now.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Risper said. “It’s a really beautiful thing to allow people to express themselves in the manner in which they want to.”
Risper scheduled two portions of the event so everyone would get a chance to speak. Featured poets took the stage for the first hour and then the stage was open to any passersby who wanted to share their poems.
There was not an abundance of dead air.
“You’re on the Capitol steps where they make the laws, and you’re providing young people with this encouragement and this passion to speak,” Risper said.
Detroit resident Rosemarie Wilson has been attending the event for four years. She said she has loved words since she was a small child.
“When I was in second grade, I won my first poetry contest and from what my mom tells me, when I was younger I wouldn’t run to the toys when we’d go shopping, I would run straight to the books,” Wilson said.
When it was her turn to speak, Wilson showed the audience the impact words could have by reciting poems she wrote about her love of Detroit and women being proud of their bodies.
“People actually appreciate the weight of the spoken word and they really want to hear it and actually feel what the poets ... have to share,” Wilson said.
“When I write, it’s like a I’m sharing a piece of me. So for people to come out and actually respond and appreciate that piece is just amazing.”