by Stacey Prince
On November 13 I attended the Bent Writing Institute's 2009 Mentor Showcase, an event showcasing 22 poets and spoken word performers, as well as honoring a published writer who was a guest teacher this past year. I have known about Bent, the only queer writing institute in the country, for several years, but have never attended one of their events. Thank you to TJP member Christy Hofsess for telling us about it; it was fantastic and one of the most moving, inspiring and energizing arts events I have attended in a long time.
Right off the bat the fabulous emcee had us laughing. The event was a fundraiser for Bent and he encouraged us to buy treats during the admission, including some non-vegan cupcakes for which he assured us "no animal was harmed, just mildly inconvenienced". Then the lights went down and the poetry began. We were stunned by the beauty, strength, and truth of the words. Gay, lesbian, bi, trans, people of color, disabled, recovering from substance abuse, childhood abuse--all told their stories, stories that don't often get told, in ways that made us laugh, cry, shake, gasp, and cheer. I hope the performers will forgive me for excerpting, out of context and probably not completely accurately, some of the phrases that stuck with me.
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