Lara Mimosa
Lara Mimosa

Last Friday night, the Next Poetix reading series welcomed four poets to MCAD’s main auditorium.

Next Poetix is a reading event series co-created by Elisabeth Workman and Lara Mimosa Montes. The events are open to the public, and this round featured poets Chaun Webster, Diana Arterian, Sawako Nakayasu, and Gabrielle Civil.

This was the third Next Poetix event at MCAD. The first one happened in December of last year, and featured readings by Andrea Jenkins, Elisabeth Workman, and Lara Mimosa Montes. This year, however, Lara and Elisabeth hosted the event instead. “I’m back,” Lara said, as she excitedly greeted the audience. “This is so much more fun now that I’m just a guest.”

Elisabeth Workman

The four poets had diverse and charged performances. First up was Chaun Webster, who projected visuals on the large screen behind him to go along his poetry. Chaun is a poet, graphic designer, and the director at Free Poet’s Press. He explored themes of race, alienation, and political hardships through his poetry, before handing the mic to Diana Arterian.

Chaun Webster

Diana, who was the one who proposed the idea of the reading to Lara, ventured into more narrative-focused reading from her chapbook With Lightness & Darkness. Her reading dealt with themes of dating, race, and interracial relationships. Following that, Sawako Nakayasu, tested some new materials first before reading her older poems from a book she wrote when she was in Minnesota some time ago. Her poems, some of them heavily allegorical, were very comedic and were well-received by an amused audience.

Diana Arterian

Sawako Nakayasu

The event closed with a reading by Gabrielle Civil, who engaged the audience with some performance art mingled with poetry. Civil’s reading blurred the lines between performance, body language, and spoken poetry. Tackling topics of race and body acceptance, at one point she asked the crowd to show one part of their bodies on the count of three. “None of you is adventurous enough,” Civil said when most of us just settled for raising our arms. One of the best aspects of Civil’s performance was her ability to seamlessly transition from addressing the audience into poetic performance.

Gabrielle Civil

At the end of the fascinating hour-plus performance, the event closed with an opportunity for the audience to mingle with the poets and also to buy some of their books and merchandise.