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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024


It is a rare thing in life to be aware of the fact that you have just experienced something special. Many times we look over photos with fondness or back on memories with awe, but seldom do we stand in a room, buzzing with the energy of this collective recognition. That is something incredibly unique, even for a campus like Middlebury. Last Thursday night in McCullough, however, a room filled to capacity hosted one of these matchless moments.

The College, through the efforts of the Mountain Club and Ross Commons as well as various other clubs, offices and organizations on campus, presented Night Kite Revival — a group of award-winning spoken word poets consisting of Anis Mojgani, Derrick Brown and Buddy Wakefield — with special guest Taylor Mali. These four performers, along with seven Middlebury student poets, put on a show with over two hours of poetry, music and comedy.

The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. As students streamed out the doors, they looked to each other to confirm the unmistakable electricity. Conversations were filled with plans to explore, reassess their own use of words or just “do something.” The number of journals that were later scribbled in might have even exceeded that of the evening’s late-night Grille visitors.

And that buzz was due to the grassroots effort of a few passionate students. Time and time again, whether it is Quidditch, Campus policy or one of our varsity teams, we are astounded by the results of such personal dedication and commitment. And we should take the time, when given the opportunity, to applaud such achievement and our fellow students’ willingness to share it with us. It is not often that we see our student body showcase its talent along with the people that inspire us, not to mention National and Individual World Poetry Slam Champions.

As a school, we are incredibly good at supporting extracurricular academic pursuits. There is accessible and ready funding for scholarships and research projects of a wide variety. What we seem to lack, however, is visible monetary support for efforts of artistic expression.

We encourage the College not only to continue supporting events like last week’s, but also to promote other options, such as the James M. Meyer grant, which funds students pursuing non-fiction creative writing projects during the month of January.

But more importantly, we urge you to come out and support campus groups like Verbal Onslaught, because these are the people that make events like the Night Kite Revival happen. It only takes one person to inspire another. And what better way to show the College what we care about, what turns us on as a student body, than attending your friend’s photo exhibit or concert?

Slam poetry reminded us of the importance of expression. It forced us to marvel at the power of a passionate few and consider the potential for individual creativity. So, in the spirit of Winter Term, let’s not let last Thursday’s experience be a fleeting one. Because if there has ever been a month to try new things, dive deeper into the old or just allow yourself to be blown away, Middlebury, this is it.