When Poetry Night at Warp Corps ushered in a revival of the live spoken word scene in McHenry County as Coronavirus restrictions finally began to ease last month something remarkable happened. The poets who read their work spanned generations. About half of the readers who gathered that night were veterans and regulars on the lively local poetry scene north of 60. The other half were young people 14 to maybe 20 who find congenial support and a safe haven at Warp Corps, the skate board/art/yoga shop on the Square in Woodstock that also does extensive social service outreach.
Although generations were missing between the two groups, each found an eager and supportive audience. And they learned a lot about each other in the process. The young people wrote with great feeling about their lives and angst that goes with growing up and not quite fitting in with expectations or assigned identities. The older generation recognized a lot of their own youthful experiences in them. The youthful poets learned that the elders felt deeply and still saw the world with wonder, that they, too, loved, grieved, and celebrated.
Kenneth Balmes and Patrick Murfin, conveners and hosts of the program hope to see the connections blossom again this month—and maybe even hear a voice or two from those missing cohorts—this Wednesday, May 12 from 7 to 9 pm at Warp Corps, 114 North Benton Street in Woodstock. Poets are encouraged to bring those pent-up verses to share for the Open Mic.
Covid-19 precautions will be observed. Masks are required and seating will be spaced for social distance. In keeping with current guidelines for indoor events, attendance will be limited to 20.
The reading is free and open to the public. Coffee and water will be available. Guests can bring other beverages of their own including wine and beer for the adults.