As 77Art gears up for its first Infinite Lit spoken-poetry event Saturday night at the B&G Gallery, the Facebook event promises a great night for those who love “slam poetry, performance, feeling deep feelings or talking with strangers.”
Bianca Zanella, the arts organizer at 77Art, said the event will include an open mic portion, an intermission with snacks and drinks and two featured performers.
Zanella explained that spoken-word poetry is more dynamic than poetry read from the page, which makes slam-poetry nights especially entertaining.
“It’s more like an acting experience or a theater experience where folks come in with prepared material, a poem they have practiced performing with hand movements, with inflection, with tone of voice, everything has been taken into consideration,” she said.
Zanella will perform at the event, and she has lined up other artists for the open-mic slots, although some of the spots will be open for drop-in performers. All the performers live in Rutland County, and the featured performers are Emma Miles and Jacob Cribbs.
Zanella said she loves spoken-word poetry because of the intimacy created between the audience and the poet.
“Whenever I go to a performance poetry event, I feel so good. It’s in the present moment when you’re in an audience, when you’re interacting with a poet, you’re interacting with their soul and something they’ve been thinking about, and something they want to share,” she said. “I really hope people feel that way coming to Infinite Lit.”
The event, which is free and open to the public, will allow attendees to view the art in the gallery as well.
Zanella said, “We thought it would be a really good opportunity for people to experience both the performance art and the visual art we have.”
Lopi LaRoe is set to perform at the Saturday event, and she said she hopes the event helps foster creativity.
LaRoe describes her written work as prose, not poetry and said she does not perform at open mics often.
“I’m only going to be reading a couple of short things,” she said. “Dealing with aging is one of them, around the topic of aging as a woman. Entering old age. And then the other one is about the lone sock on the Long Trail that I saw the other day. There’s definitely humor in it.”
LaRoe said that writing is an important part of her creative process — she writes every morning on her 1957 typewriter. She hopes that people who attend the event will be inspired to write their own stories and maybe share them one day.
“I love open mics,” she said. “I think it just shows that everybody has creativity to share. And it’s great to witness each other in that setting as a way to build community.”
Zanella looks forward to sharing stories with performers and the audience.
“That sharing component is what makes something like this so special,” she said. “Connections can be made and people’s opinions of something can be broken down if it’s a political piece. Change is so possible.”
Zanella plans to host more Infinite Lit nights in the future, and she said the beauty of spoken poetry is anyone can perform.
“We are hoping this really kicks off a celebration of poetry,” Zanella said. “A lot of the folks we have performing do not necessarily consider themselves performance poets, so I think it’s a really great way to invite the community to experience poetry a little differently.”