Milk x Honey's Open Mic Success

Student poets performed original slam poetry pieces to a crowd of approximately a dozen at the Milk x Honey open mic, hosted by Terpoets on Nov. 19. 

Walk-ins were encouraged to sign up the moment they walked in. Terpoets President Ambi Narula greeted each guest right as they walked in. Whether they were just observing or wanted to perform, all were welcome at the event. In collaboration with the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, Terpoets held their open mic at Milkboy Arthouse in College Park on a Tuesday evening. 

The Milk x Honey open mic is hosted once a semester. The Clarice also partnered with Terpoets during the NextNOW Fest, a music and arts festival held every September in the performing arts center. The event’s name was created by Tayo Omisore, a former president of Poeterps. Part of the title came from the venue, Milkboy.

“Good poetry should be like honey - something sweet, something that sticks to you!” said Omisore.​

Ambi Narula, Photo by Camryn DeLuca 

“This is a safe space,” said Narula at the beginning of the open mic event.

Narula, a senior journalism major and creative writing minor, hosts every open mic event by the group. At the Nov. 19 show, she performed a stand-up comedy routine and a spoken word piece. It’s part of “a ritual” for her to perform in every event she hosts.

Elana Morris, a junior journalism student performed a short stand-up comedy routine. Morris is co-president along with Narula of The Hysterics, an all-female comedy group at the University of Maryland. Her routine was calm and casual, even showing off her peach cowboy boots.

“I got into [comedy] by chance, because I was feeling kind of anxious one day and I just sort of needed to change my atmosphere completely,” Morris said after her routine. 

Elana Morris, Photo by Camryn DeLuca 

According to the bio on their official Facebook, “Terpoets seeks to create a platform of free and open expression, as well as necessary cross-cultural dialogue.”

Narula said Terpoets stemmed from the Jiménez-Porter Writers' House, a living and learning creative writing program at the University of Maryland. The writers’ house offers out-of-class help for students interested in perfecting their creative writing craft. They also promote a variety of study abroad programs as well as the English department’s “Writers Here & Now” event on their website

“Terpoets has given me a space to try new things and I’m a spoken word artist at heart. I’ve never studied poetry as a form and honestly, I’m just here to have fun,” said Marjorie Antonio, a sophomore history major.

Marjorie first got into slam poetry at a Terpoets meeting at the beginning of her freshman year. She presented two pieces to the crowd - including one she wrote in class just a few hours before, she admitted. 

Her first piece was an honest poem, similar to the stylings of renowned slam poet Rudy Francisco. Antonio said Francisco was a big inspiration of hers, and she was even able to open for him at “Late Night Mic,” a slam poetry event hosted by Student Entertainment Events. Francisco and poet Aja Monet were featured at the self-described art and activism event.

Photo by Camryn DeLuca​

Terpoets has held open mic events open to all forms of artistic expression, according to Narula. Participants have told stories, performed stand-up comedy sets and sang. Past events were held on campus in the multipurpose room of Queen Anne’s Hall and the now-closed Maryland Food Cooperative in the basement of Adele H. Stamp Student Union. 

Both walk-ins and Terpoets members performed a variety of prose poetry and even songs at Tuesday’s event. Some singing was accompanied by an instrumental track, while another was accompanied by the synchronized snaps from audience members.