Poetry is arguably like punk rock. It’s an underground art form committed to raw emotion, placing emphasis on self-expression. It’s a conduit for social and personal angst, and has little regard for the status quo. Poetry is nearly invisible in pop culture and local events, but the rhymesayers of the Orange County Poetry Club are looking to change that by bringing spoken word back to the community. The group’s open mic poetry readings kick off at 7 p.m. every Wednesday, in the outdoor atrium of the 4th Street Market in Santa Ana.
Founded by longtime musician and poet, Thomas Monroe, the club is comprised of readers from throughout Orange County who speak about whatever ails or inspires them. Monroe not only founded the group, he started self-publishing poets under a press by the same name. Four writers are currently in print under the OC Poetry Press insignia. Monroe feels that giving his group a chance to see their work come to life is vital to keeping poetry alive, and offers each of the published poets an opportunity to be a featured reader.
“I feel like having the press helps them to have enthusiasm for what they’re doing,” Monroe says. “Maybe they don’t always get validation from their peers, parents or teachers, but here’s a place where they can come read their work and possibly be published. I want them to keep writing poetry, to keep contributing their voice to our culture.”