Dropping it like a mixtape

Poetry workshop finds new ways to distribute works

Just in time for Grammy nominations, the English 303 Poetry Workshop class dropped their mixtape.

“@ 9 We Poem,” is a collection of poems by assistant professor of English Marcus Wicker’s Poetry Workshop class. Each student revised two poems and recorded them in the Southern Indiana Review’s studio.

Wicker said he got the idea to make a mixtape when thinking of methods to help his students revise their poetry.

“By reading the poem out loud you get a sense of the poem’s rhythm, it’s cadence, it’s anaphora and it’s enjambment,” Wicker said.

He said the English Department had some blank disks available and he bought the rest of the supplies.

“We recorded the (poems),” Wicker said, “and one of my students, Vincent Robinson, who I believe worked for NPR, edited the Sound Cloud and compressed it.”

Eric Hormuth, a junior English education major, said at first he thought dropping a mixtape was a dumb idea, until it became successful.

Hormuth wrote two poems, “A Ghazal: You’re in” and “To the Man Smoking a J in His ’97 Civic Listening to ICP Way too Loud.”

The junior said his first poem is written in couplets, where each one is a single thought but still relates to the others, each couplet has a repeating phrase, Hormuth chose “you’re in.”

“I decided to make mine about being stuck in awkward situations where you have to pee, but you can’t,” Hormuth said.

“There’s a guy who is skydiving and really wants to go to the bathroom,” Hormuth said, “and all he can think about is how far away from the nearest john he is, which is like 30,000 ft.”

The poet said he wrote his second poem in 10 minutes.

“(I was) just being mad at this invisible character who is smoking weed in his truck outside the place that I worked,” Hormuth said. “This is a fictional scenario but, as I wrote it, it ended up being this kid I knew from high school.”

Hormuth said he describes the style of the poem as angry and moody

“It’s just kind of an interesting picture to me,” Hormuth said, “how our subconscious starts writing about things we don’t really know we are writing about until we are done.”

Ellana Johnson, a junior English, creative writing and French major, said she got into poetry after taking a creative writing class and realized she was good at poetry..

“I wrote (a poem) called ‘Thoughts on Overhearing my Mother’s Prayers,’” Johnson said. “It’s just about hearing my mom pray at night and listening to really loud gospel music.”

She said her second poem “Praising Black Girls Who Blog” came from all the blogs she reads and follows online.

Johnson said this experience was nerve wracking because she didn’t want everyone to hear what she wrote. Once she overcame her fear of releasing her work, she realized she wanted to share more poems.

“(I liked) being workshopped and having other people critique what I’ve written,” Johnson said. “They have really good things to say and that was my favorite part.”

The students dedicated a class period to burn the disks and record all of their poems. The students work is available on soundcloud.com. The disks were given out for free outside the cone.

“(They are) such a talented class of students,” Wicker said. “ It’s kind of necessary for other people around campus to hear these voices, they impress me.”