UK chapter of International English Honor Society hosts first open mic night


Natalia Garcia, Reporter

The UK chapter of the International English Honor Society of Sigma Tau Delta hosted its first open mic night in White Hall Classroom Building on Wednesday, Feb. 22. 

An audience of 40 people filled the room. Fifteen writers performed self-written pieces, which ranged from poetry to creative non-fiction. 

Tea light candles and images of red velvet curtains projected onto screens greeted attendees as they walked in the door.

Michelle Sizemore, director of undergraduate studies in the English Department and faculty advisor for Sigma Tau Delta, was shocked by the amount of people in the crowd. 

“It really surpassed my expectations for participation,” Sizemore said. 

According to Julia Johnson, a professor in the English department who was in attendance Wednesday night, there are many benefits to writers performing their work in front of an audience. 

“Hearing a writer read their work is very different than just reading it on the page. It’s really important to hear how the writer intended for the work to sound,” Johnson said. 

Erik Zepeda, a junior English major who performed Wednesday night, feels the same way.

“My girlfriend … she’s been reciting with me this whole time and going over and over and over again, not to get it right, but to convey it the way I wanted it to be conveyed, since it is a very vulnerable space,” Zepeda said. “I think the biggest challenge is saying what you want said and how you want it said.

Zepeda read two pieces at the event, which happened to be his first open mic night. He chose to perform his pieces as a way to show support for himself and others. 

“I see a lot of people who don’t advocate for themselves, and I guess in a way I also feel that way, so instead of continuing the cycle I chose to just break that cycle and start advocating for other people, and I feel like I can do that through my writing,” Zepeda said. 

Ella Brown-Terry, a sophomore English major who also performed, saw the open mic night as a way to simply read her work in a safe space. 

“I feel like being in a room with a bunch of writers, there’s this energy where I feel comfortable reading my work … I feel really nervous beforehand and then I get up there and it kind of all melts away because I feel comfortable in this atmosphere and this group of people,” Brown-Terry said. 

While the writers had an array of reasons for performing their work, the ultimate goal of the event was to “create a better … sense of community with people who are interested in this kind of thing,” said Madison Fuchs, a junior English major and the president of Sigma Tau Delta.

At the event, Johnson also announced the re-launching of Graphite, the creative writing club at UK.

Johnson and Sizemore both said that the goals of these events and clubs is to simply create a community for those who are interested.

“I would like events like this one to help spread the message that English really is or can be for everybody as long as you are interested in reading, writing, communication, film,” Sizemore said. “I feel like it can be intimidating or exclusive and so I would love to create more inclusivity through these events and showing that actually it can actually be a lot of fun.”