Stepping up to a microphone to share poetry you’ve written can be terrifying.
Kendra Steel can sympathize. She admits she once had to rely on liquid courage to do it. But now the 24-year-old poet from Everett has come to enjoy taking the mic.
Steel attends Everett Poetry Night at Cafe Zippy on Thursdays. After a year and a half, it’s easy to let her nerves go and shift her mind to poetry. She sees poetry as an outlet. When she’s stressed out and feeling low, that’s when the words start pouring out.
“It’s kind of like a venting session,” she said. “You just want (your thoughts and feelings) to flow from your mouth and into the air, and then you can ground yourself from there. You’ve released this thing you’ve been building up (inside you).”
Nationwide, more and more young people are getting involved in spoken word and performance poetry.
According to a National Endowment for the Arts survey, from 2012 to 2017 the number of poetry readers between the ages of 18 and 24 has doubled.
The survey also found that social media is contributing to an increased interest in poetry among young people. If they’re not attending poetry readings at cafes and bookstores, they’re sharing their work with their peers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.