The Poetry Room explores ‘Entanglement’

Monthly series settles in at The Broad

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Entanglement. It’s a complex buzzword, often used to describe a complicated relationship with another person or situation entirely.  

But this Saturday (Aug. 13), it serves as the loose theme for the Poetry Room Open Mic event at the Broad Art Museum. Inspired by Dylan Rogers, owner of the Robin Theatre in REO Town, the Poetry Room started in 2017 as a spoken-word open mic. But after outgrowing The Robin, due to COVID limits on capacity, the Poetry Room uprooted to the Broad. 

The host of the monthly series, Lansing Region Poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi, said a few things were important to him when seeking out a hosting venue location.  

“I wanted a place that was aesthetically pleasing, a place where we can do whatever we’d like to do and say what we need to say,” Takahashi said. “Accessibility was also really important to me. A bar is not accessible because you have to be 21, and sometimes you don’t want to drink, which can be uncomfortable.” 

Since the Poetry Room moved to East Lansing in June 2022, Takahashi said the turnout has been good but not as popular as its “at capacity” Robin Theatre days. But the Broad staff is thrilled to help it grow back to its original, lyrical glory.   

“Partnerships with organizations like the Poetry Room allow us both to reach new audiences and expand the creativity at the museum beyond the galleries,” said Zoe Kissel, the Broad’s communications director. “There is so much energy in the Greater Lansing area, and it’s exciting for us to have that reach the museum too.” 

Although the events have different themes and performers each month, Takahashi said the series continuously evolves inclusively.  

“It builds on top of each other to show we have a sense of common ground,” he said. “There’s a commonality to it.” 

Takahashi said that not every performer hits it out of the park, but that’s the fun of a live, anything goes format. But nurturing a creative community is at the forefront of the Poetry Room’s mission. 

“Everybody gets the right, especially in the beginning, to be horrible,” Takahashi says. “That’s just the learning curve. 

“A lot of poets who attend regularly have exponentially grown,” he added. “A lot of them are doing their own thing, and people are getting booked for their own events now. Morgan Madden, who is somebody who attended regularly, just threw a festival, Rooted Reverence.”  

Another talent, stand-up comic Louis D. Michael, will offer a different type of spoken artform to the upcoming “Entanglement” event. Michael said attendees can expect his 10-to-15-minute set to be “fast and loose.” He describes his comedic voice as “dark, with a happy attitude, and a good smile.” His set no doubt adds dynamics to the evening.  

“I find that most of the time, a lot of my jokes skew pretty dark or towards darker topics,” he said. “I talk about it being like a butter knife with an edge.” 

“It’s a live performance, so I’ve got to see what mood I’m in that day and see what jokes I feel like doing,” he added. “Depending on what happens on the microphone before me, I might riff a little bit.” 

poetry, room, entanglement

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