Mayhem Poets will participate in a spoken word event in Columbus
Young poets, accompanied by a few more seasoned writers, will take over the Lincoln Theater on April 26.
At 7:30 p.m., the three Mayhem Poets, spoken word artists who combine comedy and drama, will give a free one-hour performance.
Prior to this performance at 6 p.m., poets aged 13 to 22 are invited to participate in an open-mic event, for which they must prepare a family poem of two minutes or less, as well as a line for a collective poem on the theme “imagining a world without injustice”.
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“I had the Mayhem Poets programmed for a few years in Columbus,” said Amy Handra, director of education and outreach at the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.
“I knew I wanted to engage our young community of poets, because we have a pretty rich community of spoken word artists in Columbus, and I know there’s a lot of interest, especially for young poets, to have the opportunity to perform.
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“The Mayhem Poets do a lot of educational outreach, in addition to performing, and they’ve agreed to host this 6pm event and give young poets feedback and advice.”
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Mayhem Poets are particularly well suited for the job.
“I saw the Mayhem Poets when I worked in Dayton years ago,” Handra said.
“I loved them because when I was sitting in the audience, I loved how engaged the young people in the audience were with what they were doing on stage. They cover a lot of topics that are really relevant to young people and really talk about some of the issues young people face, but they’re also extremely funny and entertaining.
Handra reached out to the Greater Columbus community to encourage young poets to participate.
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“Columbus City Schools are having their district poetry slam, coincidentally, this following Saturday,” Handra said. “So I reached out to my contacts at schools in Columbus City, and they’re spreading the word. Additionally, we’re working with the Thurber House Young Writers program and have invited these young people to come to the event. And the Poetry Out program Loud from the OAC (Ohio Arts Council), we connect with these young poets and when ‘Hamilton’ was here a few years ago, we did a poetry slam and held it in Fort Hayes, so we we also connect with all the young poets who have participated in this program.
The Mayhem Poets are used to working with talent in this age range.
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“The show in Columbus is myself and two other gentlemen,” said Mason Granger, 39, speaking by phone from Los Angeles.
“We met at Rutgers University (in New Jersey) in the very early 2000s. We started doing spoken word and spoken word poetry there, and then we started performing in middle and high schools. . Then we branched out to do middle schools and elementary schools, the whole range of human ages.
“We like to make shows that older kids wouldn’t find corny, but younger kids would still be entertained and parents wouldn’t mind bringing their kids. It’ll be sillier than some people think, and more serious that other people are expecting us. We’re trying to hit on all cylinders.
Granger, who is now deputy director of Get Lit, a youth poetry organization in Los Angeles, will perform with fellow poets Scott Raven and Mikumari Caiyhe.
“Some of the poems are performed by all three of us, some by two, some are individual. The opening and closing are group poems with all of us,” Granger said.
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“I think we are a unique mesh of personalities and styles that work well together. There is no room we can enter unless one of us knocks in that room. We overlap our strengths, which is the ideal group dynamic.
Mayhem Poets was largely suspended during the pandemic, but now appearances are starting up again. The trio will perform two performances for school groups in Columbus during the day as well as the public performance in the evening.
“I can’t wait to get back on stage, and Columbus is such a hotbed of really good spoken word poetry,” Granger said. “The past two years have made us all appreciate living art more. So it’s a great feeling to get into.
In one look
The Mayhem Poets will perform at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 at the Lincoln Theater, 769 E. Long St. The open mic, which poets ages 13 to 22 are encouraged to attend, begins at 6 p.m. that evening.
Tickets are free but must be pre-booked for the Mayhem Poets performance as well as the open mic. Those interested in participating can then register on site the evening of the event. (614-469-0939, www.capa.com)