Just before Valentine’s Day, the poets at the Lyricist Lounge tackled the topic of love and their own relationships to it. The theme of the Lounge was Revolution, or revolutionary love. Performers were invited to explore the ways love exists beyond typical romance and the ways it can impact those who give and receive love—the way it can be revolutionary.
On Feb. 11, the Cultural Centers hosted their first Lyricist Lounge of the semester. Lyricist Lounge is a spoken word event where students are encouraged to share poetry, music, or any other art they’ve produced, in front of their peers. The event was organized by the Cultural Center’s Spoken Word intern, Jazz Toyama.
Eden Nobile, a senior English major, who has been attending Lyricist Lounge since their freshman year, performed on Friday. “I chose the piece I did, which is called ‘Moon in Flood,’ because it really demonstrates how I go through life as a transmasculine person and the support and love I have received from my siblings in the trans community, specifically the other transmasculine people I have encountered in my life,” Nobile said. “Reproductive rights are usually framed as a women’s issue and I wanted my piece to remind people that cis women are not the only ones who deal with these issues.”
Although some of the pieces tackled what can be sensitive subjects for the performers, Nobile shared that the Lyricist Lounge provides a safe platform for them to do so. “It’s great practice for reading your work out loud, which can often be very vulnerable and intimidating, but Lyricist Lounge is such a positive and welcoming space, so it’s really the best place to start performing,” Nobile said.
Tessa Lignore, a freshman psychology major and poet, attended the event. “[Poetry] makes me feel better about what is weighing on me and turns pain into something tangible and beautiful,” she said.
“This event definitely broadened my views on revolutionary love. Each poem had a different take on it, focusing on self love, love of culture, platonic love, and the pain of love. It made me let go of the belief that love is this flowery magical thing, and look at it more holistically in all of its flaws and beauty,” Lignore continued.
However, the atmosphere at the Lounge did evoke feelings of magic. The small stage set up in McLaren complex was decorated with flowers, curtains, and string lights. In the back of the room there were small tables where people could write notes for the “Take a Valentine, Leave a Valentine” posters, which contained positive notes and gentle affirmations. On the way out, performers and audience alike were offered a Valentine’s Day goodie bag fastened with a Lyricist Lounge button, saying things like “Go in, poet.”
Though some poets spoke of pain or struggle, the focus on love seemed to create a more uplifting tone. In a statement to the Foghorn, Nobile said the theme allowed writers to focus on “forms of love not given enough attention in everyday life, whether it be love between queer, trans and gender nonconforming people or between those in the bipoc community (or both as they intersect!),” they continued. “So often marginalized communities are defined by the struggle, so our joy, happiness, and love is revolutionary.”
Challenging stereotypical ideas of love means challenging the way we may practice love in our own lives. As Nobile said, “The theme revolutionary love to me means loving that changes the way we think about love.”