THE POPULAR OPINION AMONG MOST COLLEGE STUDENTS is that poetry is dead. However, in the cozy basement of Champlain Dublin, we experienced how truly alive poetry is. Our small group of ten or so students huddled together with our short glasses of wine and welcomed guests of honor, award winning contemporary poet Stephen James Smith and renowned musician Enda Reilly. The pair performed pieces both solo and together, blending spoken word poetry with music. For many, it was the first time we had heard a poet recite something while someone sings in tandem and the performance was seamless; Smith’s steady and solid performance of spoken word combined with Reilly’s artful renditions of both classic and original songs was truly a magical experience.
Everyone was on the edge of their seats, listening to both the performers and students who shared their own poetry or favorite poems by other authors. The group of us, including the faculty, jumped in on the collaborative effort to compose an Exquisite Corpse poem, where one person writes a line and passes it along to the person next to them to write a line corresponding, then folds the paper so the next person can only see the previous line, continuing around the room. We formed a wonderful, somewhat weird, but humbly charming poem that truly captured the energy of the night.
After the performers left after a night of us singing along to their songs and them listening to us read, we dispersed into our own group, still reading poetry of our own or poetry from others. The night dissolved into talking about poetry, talking about our time in Dublin, and what it is we are going to miss about the city. Wine and Poetry has always been close to my experience at Champlain, as it is for many other students, this night at Dublin being no exception. The Wine and Poetry evening was one of the only possible perfect send-offs from Dublin, where we were able to truly share personal parts of ourselves. We truly captured how alive and well poetry is on the green and blue couches in the basement, small cups of wine in our hand, the night outside clear and warm, able to honestly feel what Wine and Poetry makes people feel- safe, comfortable, and loved.