By Becca Pasteris, GMM Executive Reporter

If students walked into Memorial Thursday night thinking they were going to study, they were in for a big surprise. Poetry in the Park, which was moved to Memorial because of the weather, was brought together by the Black Programming Committee and Indie Poets. The theme was love and heartache, and students had a lot to say.

Around 200 students showed up to either listen, speak or enjoy the complimentary Chick-Fil-A. Students came together in the Lair for their own reasons whether it was to break out of their comfort zone, to cover the event for a class project or to get that free chicken sandwich. While everyone had their own objective in mind, students left Bengal Lair happy they showed up.

MU students, Kiana Doolie and Andella Thomas, attended Poetry in the Park last year and couldn’t wait to see what this year’s poets had to bring to the table. “We’re coming in with an open mind,” said Doolie, speaking for the both of them.

Poem after poem, students shared their heartbreak and love affairs. These students put so much passion into their performance, and the audience was loving every second. Students either cheered, snapped or knocked in the air to moments they loved and were silent in moments that deemed fit. It was as if the performer and audience were in sync during every poem, and it was truly amazing to be a part of it all.

Some students have been performing their work for a while, but there were a few people new to the game. Chelsea Hazell wrote a personal poem about someone from her past titled “Don’t Touch Me”. She felt nervous coming on stage but the weight that was sitting on her chest lifted as soon as she finished her poem and stepped off. “I, kind of, read my stuff faster when I’m nervous,” Hazell said. “I want to say how I feel more often, and this gives me the opportunity to do that.” Even if she felt like she flopped during a performance, Hazell was happy she pushed herself to do it. A lot of students like her felt the same way performing their poems. There were plenty of poems like hers that addressed how love makes people weak, and they need to take back control.

Anya Tukina, on the other hand, walked up to the stage ready to share her thoughts on modern love. In a piece titled “Men are Trash”, Tukina addressed the problem when women complain about men for their actions when they are acting the same way. She ends her poem by saying “we all got to love each other. That’s the key.” Tukina sees a lot of hate in the world and in poems. “People need to be reminded that they don’t need to end on bad note,” Tukina said.

Deja Deurson, along with her close friends, threw this whole event together because she loves the energy it brings to campus. “I’m a performer, and I wanted to share that energy in an open environment,” Deurson said. She felt so proud of everyone who had the courage to share their work on stage. Deurson added, “It’s not easy going up there.”

Poetry in the Park gave students an open and accepting space to share their issues with people who can relate with them. With the society that our generation has been dealt, sometimes support is just what we need.


Deurson, D. (2018, October 11). Personal interview.

Doolie, K. (2018, October 11). Personal interview.

Hazell, C. (2018, October 11). Personal interview.

Thomas, A. (2018, October 11). Personal interview.

Tukina, A. (2018, October 11). Personal interview.

MUTV Exec, GMM Digital Director