The aroma of coffee mingles with the faint background of alternative music that seems to escape from every corner. In front of the stage, an array of people anxiously wait for the Red Earth Reading to begin. This performance is unlike most: there are snaps in place of claps, poets rhyming about their love for dogs and recounting their flirting experiences.
The Peacock’s Feet literary magazine presented the Red Earth Poetry Reading on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Blackbird Coffee in downtown Milledgeville.
“Writers, as a rule of thumb, tend to work alone, so we like to cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable sharing something as personal as a poem or short story, which they may not have shared before,” said Jessalyn Johnson, co-editor-in-chief of The Peacock’s Feet. “It’s a way to unify a truly diverse community through self-expression. The fact that we all have something different to write about is so special to me, and I think it’s really important to have somewhere to bring that together and give others a glimpse into our unique experiences.”
The Red Earth Readings have been a literary magazine tradition at GC for a few years now.
“For as long as I’ve been at GC, the fall readings have been called Red Earth Readings,” Johnson said. “It’s likely a testament to the red clay Georgia is famous for. Like our clay, every student who reads has a rich history that is entwined with Georgia in some way since they chose it for their college experience, whether they were born here or not, and it’s a way of paying homage to that connection.”
The event is intended to bring students from all majors together to listen to student poetry performances.
“Red Earth Readings also offer non-English majors a chance to read their creative works to people, something that they don’t typically get to do unless they take a workshop class as an elective,” said Hallye Lee, The Peacock’s Feet other co-editor-in-chief.
The poets who performed represented a variety of majors beyond English and creative writing, such as exercise science and psychology. Alaynah Luttrul, an exercise science major, wrote a book of poetry after spending the past six years in Europe.
“I have never really thought about relating science and exercise [to poetry], though I’m sure someone has devised a brilliant way to do so,” Luttrul said. “Writing has been my hobby and a form of emotional release for many years, just as exercise has been a hobby and form of stress relief for me. Aside from that parallel, I leave them to their own places in my life.”
Each reader’s personal voice was present in the poems performed. Some poets already had a notion of the poetry style poetry style they are approaching.
“I like to think of myself as a sort of confessional poet because I tend to gravitate toward a discussion on the things that happen to me and how that makes me feel in my poetry,” Luttrul said.