Last Friday evening the Author’s Corner was held at Open Mike’s in downtown Chester, hosting a spoken word event that invited local poets, authors, and spoken word artists. This event allowed authors to share their work at the microphone to a very enthusiastic audience from the community, and also gave an opportunity to published authors to meet and sell their books and recordings. Delicious food was served at no cost to attendees, including beautifully handmade cream cheese parfaits with fresh berries and nuts, sandwiches, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, including absolutely wonderful fresh summer watermelon. The café is decorated with a collection of beautiful paintings, sculptures and a very comfortable vibe to enhance the personal reflections of individuals on the stage.
The authors that participated included not only poetry and reading from books that they had written, but also singing in their performances. As each author came to the stage it was unknown to the audience what or how they would present, which added continued excitement with each new act. Presenting work discussing topics with a wide variety from love, death, happiness, fear, gender equality, racism, history, fiction prose and praise; each performer gave a different perspective into their own experiences in life. Although what they performed were from their own lives, I don’t think anyone in the room could not relate to each performer in some way from their own life experiences. This connection between performers and their audience was incredibly powerful and you could feel throughout the room the mutual respect and appreciation for everything that was said and done or presented. When a performer would get nervous, everyone in the room cheered them on to give them confidence and strength. It was a very powerful thing to observe.
Guest performer Greg Corbin concluded the evening with his personal and powerful poetry, and a look into the program that he has been running in Philadelphia. A graduate of Lincoln University, Gregory Corbin Jr. is founder of The Philly Youth Poetry Movement. Through this program, he works with young adults to provide a safe place to feel and learn the importance and abilities of their individual voices and talents, and learn not only skills of writing and expression but also skills to help with the challenges of life. He has performed all over the world with performers of all ranges including India Arie, Talib Kweli, Sonia Sanchez, and has spoken for empowerment and advocacy on programs presented by HBO, CNN, CSPAN, BET, and many other networks. His powerful presentation of his own experiences as a father and as an artist concluded the evening with a strong sense of hope and excitement for the future.