Food for Thought’s “A Dark Side of Love”

Valentine’s Day themed poetry slam hosted in DAC Coffeehouse

Sami Wanderer, Contributing Writer

The DAC Coffeehouse was lit by a string of fairy lights and decorated with simple but elegant red and white balloons and paper hearts as St. John’s poetry club, Food For Thought, hosted “A Dark Side of Love,” a Valentine’s Day-themed open mic.

The event, hosted annually by the organization, centered around love poems. Some poets chose to focus on romantic love or lost love while others talked about loving themselves. In between poets, student, DJ James Larkin “Cuddles” played a mix of current and past music, featuring hits from Bruno Mars and Cardi B.

Performer and president of Food for Thought Tamara Garcia strayed from traditional form, instead reading some of her “lovey dovey” text messages from past relationships, while English major Eleanor Myers chose to write in Shakespeare’s traditional sonnet style.

Myers wrote a sonnet instead of free verse as she usually does because she has been studying sonnets in her English class. Her poem, as she described, was about loving someone and feeling like they love you, something everyone could relate to at some point in their lives.

Larkin shared a poem he wrote about his last girlfriend while they were dating. The feeling of the poem was conversational and he talked about how even a can of Chef Boyardee could remind him of her.

“I liked the line about the wifi not working and the ‘bu-I-lo-you,” Myers said about Larkin’s poem.

Larkin recently broke up with the girlfriend who he dated for three years, and he fought back tears as he described the times they were together when she would bring him food, because he viewed this as her showing that she cared about his well being.

Poetry is a chance to release emotions for freshman Julia Betancourt, who writes poetry and music in her spare time. She competed in the poetry slam last semester and although she didn’t make the team that will be traveling to Houston to compete nationally later in the spring, she learned how to write for her audience through the experience.

“It challenged me to write things that I felt would stir a reaction out of the audience, things that would reach people and grab them and pull them into my orbit,” Betancourt said.

Sylvia Plath’s way of giving life to her demons through her writing inspires Betancourt, who used repetition that evoked a feeling of oppression from the outside world in her poem.

“She was able to give life to her demons, which is unlike anything I’ve seen,” Betancourt said about Plath.

Some performers went on stage multiple times during the night, and students were able to sign up last minute to perform during the event.

Twenty students performed and about 50 people were in the audience, Garcia said.

The crowd didn’t participate by snapping as much during this open mic as they did last semester, though, according to Betancourt.

“Hearing snaps after you say a line that may have been so clever, or so deep, or so emotional, or so impactful — whether happy or sad or anything else — feels amazing,” Betancourt said.