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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Erotic Poetry Night draws large crowd

Alia Taqieddin reads "Fuck Me Like Being Born" a poem by Sean Thomas Dougherty, during Erotic Poetry Night at a full house on Thursday, April 16, in the Underground Coffeehouse. The poem describes the many tender and graphic ways of making love, repeating the phrase "fuck me like..." // Photo by Kesia Lee
Alia Taqieddin reads “Fuck Me Like Being Born” a poem by Sean Thomas Dougherty, during Erotic Poetry Night at a full house on Thursday, April 16, in the Underground Coffeehouse. The poem describes the many tender and graphic ways of making love, repeating the phrase “fuck me like…” // Photo by Kesia Lee

About 100 people crammed into Western’s Underground Coffeehouse for the Associated Students Sexual Awareness Center’s, SAC, fourth Erotic Poetry Night.

Erotic Poetry Night is a free event that encourages creativity through sexual expression, SAC Coordinator Allie Moore said.

Around 6 p.m. the Underground started filling up, and by 6:15 it was at capacity with a line out the door. The event was not scheduled to start until 7 p.m.

There was no strict theme to the night, as long as the poems involved sex and sexuality, Moore said.

“People can write whatever they want and that encourages a lot of creativity,” Moore said.

More than 20 people submitted poems to Moore and SAC Assistant Coordinator Ray Jacobsen and 20 of them read at the Underground.

Poets included students as well as some people from the community.

This year, Moore and Jacobsen tried something different with their submission process.

In the past they had set a due date for submissions and picked the poems that they liked, but this year they changed it to a rolling admission in case they needed to send feedback or if a writer needed to edit their poems or add a trigger warning.

“I think that encouraged people to submit,” Moore said, “because we got a lot of submissions.”

Even though this event specialized in expressing one’s sexuality, Moore and Jacobsen labeled explicit poems with “trigger warnings” to create a more safe space free of oppression for those who may have experienced sexual trauma or felt uncomfortable by the topic.

On the program for the night, poems with trigger warnings were labeled “TW” so people could choose whether or not they wanted to take a break from the event.

Keeping with the “safe space” goal, whenever audience members resonated with a certain line of a poem, they snapped their fingers and cheered.

“I love that [the poets] can say whatever they want and they can express their sexuality and they can be quirky and serious all at the same time,” sophomore Madison Bradner said.

Western senior and poet, Jasmine Boehmke, wrote a poem called “Fucking is Justice Too,” an erotic fantasy where the speaker fantasizes about social reform with an Boehmke drew the inspiration for her poem while she was doing some activist work on her own.

“Sometimes there’s boring parts when you’re standing around holding signs and also I have crushes on all of my activist friends. I just stand around holding signs and start fantisizing so I thought it would be funny to write a poem about it,” Boehmke said.

This was the first time Boehmke had ever performed an erotic poem in front of strangers.

“I was totally nervous,” said Boehmke.

Boehmke would also like to add that she is single.

As the crowd filed out of the Underground, audience members were able to meet with and congratulate the poets while the SAC gave out condoms and information on safe sex.

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