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Expose Your Thirst

By Maggie Fiegl '15

Every English class I’ve ever taken, from elementary school through college, has done a unit on poetry. I will admit that poetry has never been my strong suit. In fact, working on poetry usually made me uncomfortable, especially listening to my peers’ deepest inner thoughts; but, in keeping with the ArtStreet and IAN teachings, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and participate in Expose Your Thirst, a program held on September 22 by ArtStreet, UD’s chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms and ArtStreet’s community artist-in-residence, Sierra Leone of Oral Funk Poetry.

A group of about 15 students came in to ArtStreet’s Creator Space to participate in the event. At the beginning of the event, we were asked to explore the THIRST installation and to finish the statement, “I want…” After reflecting on our responses, we returned to the Creator Space and were asked to look at an assortment of photos that were laid out on each table. We were given 1 minute to choose a photo that described the day we were having. We were then asked to switch photos with another person at our table and describe that photo in one word. We tacked those photos up on the wall and were asked to describe why we chose that word for that particular photo. Once everyone had shared, we were asked to choose a photo from the wall and write 6 lines of poetry on how that photo and the attached word made us feel. from feelings of stress to questions about beauty, each poem reflected each author’s wants, feelings and desires. next we started working on our blackout poetry pieces. We were each given books and were asked to choose a page and compose another 6 line poem of our choosing by "blacking out" all but the words we choose to use in our poem.

The energy in the room throughout the evening lent itself to a greater understanding of ourselves and others through, for some of us, newer, uncharted territory. I’d never done a blackout poetry piece, but I’d seen it done before online. Listening to my peers share their experiences, stresses and thoughts through their poetry was such a humbling experience and I was glad that I chose to participate in this amazing experience.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and it is estimated that more than 1,100 college students die by suicide each year. To Write Love on Her Arms’ hope is that the presence of a UChapter on college and university campuses can help turn the tide in these statistics. To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit, national organization that seeks to inspire, inform, and give recovery options for those struggling with mental health. UChapter members will work to tackle the stigma of mental health and connect students to the local resources they need.

UD’s UChapter holds meetings twice a month. October’s meetings are held on Thursday, October 15 in ArtStreet’s Unplugged room (Studio A1) and on Sunday, October 25 in a location to be determined at a future time. They are also hosting an unplugged trip to Yellow Springs on October 21 and a Halloween corn maze event on October 30. Look for their upcoming spoken word EP and their major fall event this November!

Oral Funk Poetry Productions (OFP) is the production management arm of Tripple Croxx Entertainment. Its vision is to revive, share, support and create opportunities for Dayton artists to express all forms of visual and performance creative art and entertainment. Poetry is the moral fabric of OFP and is used to synthesis an atmosphere that nurtures all forms of entertainment and artist aspirations. It also seeks to raise the morale of the people living in Greater Dayton and southern Ohio region by honoring the urban experience through performance art.

Check out for upcoming events and more information.

Maggie Fiegl is a senior Communications major at the University of Dayton. She works for ArtStreet as the Student Arts Writer.

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