Jo’s Coffee fosters student connection and community through slam poetry nights


(Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)

Delicious coffee and community can be found at Jo’s Coffee slam poetry nights.

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, Jo’s Coffee on campus hosted a slam poetry event full of the emotional spoken word. Inside, the lights were dimmed down and faux candles sat on the tables. There was a calm but jazzy atmosphere inside Jo’s that night. After almost two years of isolation, students gathered together for this event. Cindy Stanukinos, the manager of Jo’s on campus, started off the event with a warm welcome and invited several students to read poems they created or found fascinating. The poems covered topics like love and the death of a friend; some even chose to read their poems in Spanish. There was a short break during the event for coffee and conversation.

Stanukinos chose to share some poetry and her love for Jane Austen’s letters. She went on to explain that in college, reading these letters was a moment in her life when she realized her self-worth and power. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
During the event the room started to fill up; friends sat close to one another, tentatively listening to the poets. More people quietly trickled in and found open seats as the event went on. Once each performer was finished, everyone broke out in snaps and soft claps. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
Marie Ritchie, sophomore theater major, chose a poem by Olivia Gatwood titled “Teen Girls,” which is about the glory and frustrations of being a girl. She read the poem with such ease and a slightly agitated tone. Sharing poetry with others, I asked Marie what it meant for her to be here at an event like this she said those who presented original work are “just phenomenal”. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
Many showed up to this event out of support and for good, memorable times with friends. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
Some chose to read their own poems that covered difficult memories. Bri Boughter chose to read some of her own work about the loss of a friend. She expressed the importance of this poem and shared it with others. “There’s a lot more people than we realize who have dealt with suicide,” she said. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
After each performer finished, Stanukinos congratulated them with flowers. Gemstone (pictured above) shared many of her original and mesmerizing works, which radiate good vibes. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)
Ritchie (third from left) attended the event with a group of friends who showed up to support her as she read one of her favorite poems. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)