Speaking from your heart
Erotic poetry night at the Underground Coffeehouse is a place where people can gather to express and discuss sexual empowerment. Students are given a platform to freely present their opinions and expressions in a space where they feel comfortable to be themselves.
In fall of 2015, junior Anna Marie Yanny, the founder and president of the poetry club, heard the Underground Coffeehouse coordinator was looking for a person to host an erotic poetry night.
Yanny, a freshman at the time, decided she would start the poetry club and offer erotic poetry night as an event hosted by the club.
“The community was already there, so once we had the space and once we had the events, people flooded to it,” Yanny said.
Yanny never imagined how important writing was going to be to her until she was surrounded by people who were honest and supportive in their storytelling.
“When I listen to someone else speak about something they’re passionate about or something that makes them feel a strong emotion, there’s a certain level of connection that you don’t get in a lot of other interactions.”
Wyatt Heimbichner Goebel, sophomore
Her favorite part of the club is seeing new members, who, after sharing their poetry for the first time, become comfortable sharing their work regularly. Yanny said seeing their confidence and performance skills come to life is rewarding.
Presenting an honest confession on stage and having other audience members relate with your experience is something everyone can benefit from, Yanny said.
Wyatt Heimbichner Goebel, a sophomore and active member of the poetry club, said poetry about sex is important because a lot of people see it as a taboo topic, and a theme many people aren’t comfortable discussing.
If more people discussed sex, it would lead to benefits allowing others to ask questions about sex or sexuality they may not understand now, Heimbichner Goebel said.
Heimbichner Goebel said a lot of poets are raw with their feelings and words, so it can be shocking for people at first.
“I hope the audience really connects with the poems on an emotional level and an aesthetic level,” Heimbichner Goebel said.
Sophomore Symone Camargo found her love of poetry during her freshman year of high school after reading “Romeo and Juliet.” She enjoyed the structure and pattern of sonnets, which morphed into the more freeform and spoken-word poetry that she writes and performs today.
The first time Camargo attended erotic poetry night, she didn’t intend to perform, but with some encouragement from participants, she wrote a short poem on the spot about mac and cheese and blanket forts.
“People think it’s going to be embarrassing, or they don’t want to share because they don’t want to be that vulnerable,” Camargo said. “People should feel comfortable doing whatever they want.”
She said, because the erotic poetry nights are the club’s most popular events, it’s helped her to keep writing and performing. Close to 100 people come out to hear people perform their work. With that many attendants, the events can foster a community of supportive, understanding and caring people.
Camargo said it’s easier for her to express herself and to be truly honest in her poetry writing, something she couldn’t otherwise do in regular day-to-day interactions.
Heimbichner Goebel has been doing spoken word and slam poetry since his junior year of high school. He and his friends got into poetry and something about it stuck with him.
Poetry has always been the best emotional outlet for Heimbichner Goebel, since it helps him put his feelings into words. He gets a thrill out of performing in front of crowds and listening to others express themselves.
“When I listen to someone else speak about something they’re passionate about or something that makes them feel a strong emotion, there’s a certain level of connection that you don’t get in a lot of other interactions,” Heimbichner Goebel said.
Yanny said the experience is a way to convey sensuality in a space that’s intimate and creative.
The erotic poetry night is held once a year in the spring, but the poetry clubs host other events throughout the year.