It’s been a while since I’ve sat in an audience and just listened to another poet or musician perform without worrying about also having to read my work. But tonight, I attended the Fourth Friday Open Mic series at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock just to listen and enjoy the entertainment. I was especially impressed by the number of high schoolers that got up there and read their work. That takes a lot of guts and courage, and I doubt at that age I would have been able to do it. I didn’t read at my first open mic until college. Several of the students that read are part of the Breaking Ground Poets organization, led by Tunkhannock High School teacher Katie Wisnosky. The organization has held various poetry slams over the last year at different venues around northeastern, PA. I respect and admire Katie’s energy as a teacher and the way she has inspired her students to care about the art of writing poetry, or creating music. I wish more schools had similar support for the arts, or more teachers willing to create organizations similar to the Breaking Ground Poets.

If you want to see these students in action, then come by the Dietrich Theater this Sunday at 5 p.m. The students will compete in a poetry slam. The cost is $5 per ticket, and the money goes towards their trip to Chicago to compete in a national poetry slam. You should also check out the next open mic on June 28, which is free. It starts at 7, but get there earlier if you want to sign up to perform. I will be filling in for Laurel Radzieski as the emcee. and my friend Dave Hage will be the musical feature.

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About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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