Poets Test Their Spoken Word Skills At The Blue Room

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One of the things that has made the Kansas City area so famous over the years is its rich history in jazz music and culture, and no place in Kansas City celebrates this more than The Blue Room, located on the historic intersection of 18th and Vine. The Blue Room, which is connected to The American Jazz museum, holds a multitude of events such as professional concerts, jam sessions for local musicians, and workshops designed to teach in new ways. But now, some students from Shawnee Mission West are beginning to get involved at The Blue Room’s through their monthly Jazz Poetry Jams.

After speaking to the poet-in-residence Glenn North, Dylan Carter, Language Arts teacher thought the Jazz Poetry Jams would be a great opportunity for his students.

“I decided it would be a really cool idea if I could bring down a few of my more talented students and give them another forum to share their poetry. We’re going on our third month and it’s been a great experience,” Carter said.

Mark Whitrock, senior, is one of the students that has gone down the first two times West students have made the trip to 18th and Vine.

“There’s a lot of good poetry there, you hear a lot of new stuff, and it’s good to hear poetry that’s not just from Writer’s Workshop,” Whitrock said about his experience at The Blue Room.

Whitrock, along with the many others who fill The Blue Room each third Tuesday of the month, spend their evening listening to smooth Kansas City jazz and both professional and aspiring poets.

Like Whitrock, Jordan Tyler, sophomore, is one of the students who not only goes down to listen, but also perform.

“It’s kind of nerve wracking at first, but once you get the hang of it, the people are really inviting and they’re open to all different things. It’s just really fun and it’s a good environment to say what you’re feeling,” she said.

The Blue Room opens its doors and its mic every third Tuesday of the month. For a small cover fee of $5, people can enjoy a night of full of  jazz, talented local poets, and a featured guest poet.

“It’s brought a lot of camaraderie to the students and it’s been a great forum to share what pieces they’ve been working on in class and just see how it’s received by a larger Kansas City community,” Carter said.

The next Jazz Poetry Jam is on Tuesday, April 17, starting at 7:00 pm with a jazz performance preceding spoken word performances.