New Syntax poetry group slams onto campus

Originally published in the October 8, 2010 issue

The days of reading poetry in smoke-filled coffee shops while listening to bongo drums are over, at least on Bradley’s campus.

Syntax slam poetry club had its first meeting Monday, and though the crowd was small, junior English and interactive media major Kyle Nagel said he was optimistic for the future of the group.

“This group is for you to let it all out,” Nagel said in a poem he wrote specifically for the group’s first meeting.

More than just people getting up and reading poetry, Syntax is a place for people to share what they have written and get feedback on their work.

Attending a meeting doesn’t require a performance, but everyone is encouraged to share a poem or critique one.

“What do you think about the legit writing – what’s on paper?” he asked the audience. “The performance aspect is completely different, what do you think about the words?”

Nagel was the only one to share his work at the first meeting, reading a total of five poems. They were a combination of poems written specifically for the meeting, ones written for class or just in reaction to his personal experiences.

Most of the poems were emotional pieces, and Nagel said he wants Syntax to be a place people can feel comfortable sharing even the most personal of pieces.

This sort of a club is something Bradley has been lacking, said English honor society Sigma Tau Delta member Lyra Johnson.

“We are very impressed and looking forward to it,” she said. “There are a lot of creative people on campus, so it’s exciting to see what they can do.”

The meeting ran more like a conversation than a formal performance or lecture, and Nagel encouraged both positive and negative feedback from the crowd.

“Speak up!” he said. “If you think something is really f–king dumb, then say it.”

STD member Curtis Teichert said he thinks Syntax could be beneficial to a lot of students on campus.

“Bradley has needed this – I definitely think it has a chance if people hear about it,” he said. “People are more comfortable in a relaxed situation like this, in a place where they can come and don’t have to get up on stage.”

Nagel said he saved some poems for future meetings, but is hopeful people will come willing to share their own works.

“You don’t have to be jumping around getting angry like I am,” he said. “You can even sit in your chair and read us your poem.”

Nagel said he hopes students get something out of the meetings.

“This is a place with no boundaries, no rules,” he said. “I haven’t found a club on campus that does this sort of thing.”

Syntax meetings are at 8 p.m. every Monday in Global Communications Center room 212.