Halloween Coffee House Fills With Costumed Poets

Grace Mamon, Managing Editor

Every month, the Sexuality and Gender Equality club (SAGE), sponsored by Ms. Williams, collaborates with the Molten Art club, sponsored by Mrs. Adaway, to put on a Coffee House in the library from 6:30-9 p.m. Last night was the second Coffee House of the year; it was brimming with Halloween decorations, pizza, poetry, music, and, of course, coffee.

While Coffee House began as a way to “generate funds” according to Williams, it has turned into an event that many people enjoy and look forward to each month.

“A lot of these kids, especially from SAGE, don’t have an opportunity to engage with people who have had the same experiences,” Williams said.

She is not alone in her enthusiasm; an abundance of students are drawn to this event and the atmosphere it provides.

Loren Moody ('17) MC's every month's Coffee House.
Gaby Christian
Loren Moody (’17) MC’s every month’s Coffee House.

“I like Coffee House because it brings a lot of people together in a place where we can be open and express ourselves. If you’re having a bad day at school, or dealing with problems at home, you can forget all of that when you come to Coffee House,” said Isabella Overbee (‘20) who heard about Coffee House through SAGE.

“It also gives people who want to perform a place to do that,” added Claire Martin (‘20) who sat behind Isabella as they both awaited 6:30, when Coffee House would begin with a train of people lined up to get food and reconvening to hear the first performances.

Loren Moody (‘17), senior editor of the Molten Art literary magazine and MC of Coffee House, began the night by greeting everyone and introducing the Community Poem, which is passed around the library until everyone has added a line. It is read aloud after all the performers have finished. Loren then read one of her own pieces, a poem, to initiate the performing.

After that, performers went up in succession, sharing poetry, singing songs, or even reading Halloween-themed short stories. They were interrupted only by a fifteen minute intermission that allowed for coffee refills and rapid-fire jokes.

Although you wouldn’t know by looking at them, many of the performers are filled with nerves as they stand before the students congregated in the library.

Jacob Puckett ('17) is one of Coffee House's devoted veterans.
Gaby Christian
Jacob Puckett (’17) is one of Coffee House’s devoted veterans.

“I’m normally just thinking that I have to get it over sooner or later,” said Chris Payne (‘20), who was dressed in a panda onesie for the Halloween theme. When asked what inspires her to share her love for music and poetry, she talked about the other performers that she has met through Coffee House, and her appreciation for their work.

Jacob Puckett, a senior and veteran Coffee House performer, agreed with her on this point, but for a slightly different reason.

“I’m mostly inspired by other people, because I am not always very confident in my writing, but I like getting feedback. When people tell me that they enjoyed my piece, I am inspired to keep writing and performing,” Puckett said. “I usually prepare for my performance by rereading whatever I’m sharing, so that I don’t misspeak.”

After several years of Coffee House performances under his belt, Jacob has a few pieces of advice to share with first-time performers.

“I would just tell them not to be nervous because everyone is friendly and probably just as nervous as you are. That’s one of the things I like about Coffee House; you can have a conversation with anyone here, even if you don’t know them. I think it’s comforting to remember that we all have a common interest, which is writing, and you can make new friends based on that,” Puckett said.

KD Haughton ('19) plays bass along to a song on her phone.
Gaby Christian
KD Haughton (’19) plays bass along to a song on her phone.

The friendly environment is intentional and, as the night went on, extremely apparent. Enthusiastic applause filled the air, and the support was tangible as several performers approached the mic with a friend to hold their hand or play the music for the song they sang.

Lecsi Pillar (‘18) described Coffee House as “a space for people to share more secret parts of themselves without judgement. Because it is co-hosted by SAGE, Coffee House attracts a lot of the LGBT community, so that they also have a safe space to be.”

Pillar said that performing at Coffee House was initially a way for her to vent, but now she

routinely reads two pieces of her poetry and has gotten significantly more comfortable with sharing the more vulnerable parts of herself.

A student gets emotional watching her friend sing in front of Coffee House's accepting crowd.
Gaby Christian
A student gets emotional watching her friend sing in front of Coffee House’s accepting crowd.

“The first time I ever performed, I started crying, and I wasn’t even reading my own piece.” Pillar said. She attributed the conquering of her nerves to her friend Melissa Fisher, who graduated last year and was one of Coffee House’s more passionate performers.

Ms. Williams and Mrs. Adaway are very pleased with the turnout of Coffee House so far this year and the ways that it has made a difference in the lives of its participants. For those who have not heard about Coffee House, mark your calendar for next month, because regardless of whether you are new or old to the event, you will be welcomed with open arms, inspired writing, and delicious coffee.