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Today in Lansing: Finding Your Voice at East Lansing Public Library

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Finding Your Voice at East Lansing Public Library

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

East Lansing Public Library

950 Abbot Rd., East Lansing

Click here for event page

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 — Learn the empowering and rousing methods of spoken word poetry in this free workshop with Lansing Poetry Club president Ruelaine Stokes.

Spoken word poetry is often associated with hip-hop and rap, but it’s much more encompassing, Stokes said.

“I define it as any presentation of poetry that is performance before an audience.”

The workshop will focus a good portion of time on methods to communicate effectively with an audience.

“Don’t worry, almost everyone is nervous speaking to a crowd,” Stokes said. “If you are trying to present one of your own poem, it is even scarier.”

But there are tips and methods to communicate with an audience effectively.

“All of us are very good at communicating with other people, but in front of a stage it feels like a different situation with different dynamics,” Stokes said.

These dynamics can be learned, and attendees will be broken down into small groups to better understand them.

“The goal is to be in front of an audience speaking authentically and genuinely connecting with people.”

Stokes said learning spoken word poetry gave her a way to overcome her natural shyness.

“I started a billion years ago back in poetry workshops and an eclectic group of poets and musicians, actors and artists,” Stokes said. “The poets were giving performances and I was fascinated by that. Reciting poetry became a dream for me. It was energizing, exciting and I got hooked.”

Stokes credits her former teacher and poet Lee Upton for opening up the world of poetry to her. Upton currently works as an English professor at Lafayette College.

The Lansing Poetry Club’s next event will include performances on Jan. 20 from Lansing poet laureate Dennis Hinrichsen and poet Cruz Villarreal followed by an open mic.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/LansingPoetryClub

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