Preaching poetry: readings around campus and city-wide

Rough Draft 4

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Gennarelli)

Charleston, South Carolina is a city blooming with passion, culture and identity. A huge part of that identity is the sense of expression that comes from the city’s literature. Poetry and literary readings are great chances to get to know writers of the Charleston community and to have your own writing be heard as well. From the center of campus, to the East Bay Meeting House, the rhythmic words of Charlestonian poetry can be always heard.

Right here on campus, we have one of the greatest opportunities to hear and present poetry and other literary works. The Center Stage group at the College is a student-run theater organization which produces various theatrical works throughout the year. Once a month they host an event called Rough Draft that is meant to showcase the literary work of CofC students. Writers of all genres can submit their work to be read aloud by audience members who attend. Audience members can arrive early to be cast as a reader, and they then have to opportunity to mingle with community writers and actors. Then, the readings begin and the poetic words of our fellow students fill the air. The event is a way for writers to get their work heard, for actors to practice their reading and presentation skills and for audience members to hear some great pieces of literature. All genres are accepted to be read – from poetry to screenwriting, prose, short stories and solo performances. Come to the next Rough Draft event at the Barnet Courtyard on Nov. 14 to be a part of this artistic and cultural event.

Rough Draft 3

(Photo courtesy of Ashley Gennarelli)

Poetry and literary readings are held off campus as well. On Friday Oct. 10 at the Charleston Library, CofC student Davis Sawyer read a few of his own very emotional poems such as “Cabin Pressure.” Following Sawyer, Jon Pineda took the stage and read some of his work which ranged from heart-breaking prose to hilarious poetry. The event was put on by the Charleston Poetry Society, which holds monthly poetry readings along with monthly writing seminars. The next reading will be held on Nov. 14, 2014 and will feature Roger Reeves and Gary Jackson. Following this, there will be a writing seminar with Roger Reeves on Nov. 15. For more information about these and future events, visit

There are also additional opportunities to hear the spoken word. Every Monday, poetry readings are held at the East Bay Meeting House at 8 p.m., which have a featured reader followed by an open-mic opportunity. Also, Kudu Coffee shop hosts a weekly poetry reading called Poetics: By and for the People at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. If you’re looking to get a night away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Sonia’s Mongolian Grill in North Charleston hosts “The Poetry Show” at 9 p.m. on the last Friday of every month. Come on out to one of these great events, hear some awesome poetry and be immersed in the sublime culture of our city.


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Jessica Wilkinson is a feature writer at CisternYard News. She is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education and History with a minor in Political Science. In her free time, she can be found binge-watching Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars on Netflix, doing Muay Thai Kickboxing and spending as much time as possible on Pinterest. She aspires to be the best history teacher your kids will ever have while spending her summers writing and traveling the world.

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