Poet finds community for creative expression, perspectives


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Courtesy of Michael Anderson | Michael Anderson, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, joined Verbal Mayhem because it combines his love for poetry and theatre and provides him with a creative outlet.


In light of Snowpocalypse 2015, Michael Anderson spent the past two days holed up in his apartment watching movies. He decided to watch the new blockbuster movie “Into the Woods,” and has one thing to say about it.

“It sucked,” the School of Arts and Sciences sophomore said. “The plot sucked, the music sucked and all the melodies sucked.”

A member of the Rutgers University Slam Poetry Team, Anderson is no stranger to opposing views and is a huge advocate for gaining a variety of perspectives. 

“The most valuable thing you can have is the ability to perceive in a lot of different ways,” he said. 

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Courtesy of Michael Anderson | Michael Anderson, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, joined Verbal Mayhem because it combines his love for poetry and theatre and provides him with a creative outlet.

He describes this as “the gift that keeps on giving,” because not only do you learn a lot about different peoples views, you get the opportunity to teach someone else your perspective.

During his first year of college, Anderson’s friend invited him to go to a coffeehouse sponsored by the English Department where he got to see other students perform and was inspired to get involved.

He joined Verbal Mayhem, an open mic group and performance collective open to the general public, and was later encouraged to audition for Rutgers’ slam poetry team, RU Slam Poetry. 

Their main goal is to provide a platform for poets, emcees, singers and other artists to express their craft and network with others who have the same interests. 

“I love spoken word because it gives you an outlet,” he said. “It’s where theatre — something I really like — meets poetry, which is something else I really like.”

For those who are interested in getting involved with slam poetry but don’t know where to start, Anderson said they should come to Verbal Mayhem. 

“Anybody who has something to say and feels something deep within them that needs to be let out, has an outlet.” he said “It’s just a matter of finding the right people to listen. And if people are listening to you and respect your expression, that’s a beautiful thing.”

Even with many of his poems ranging from social, political and economic themes, Anderson also writes love and funny poems. He believes that poems can just be about everyday life.

When he is not writing, Anderson enjoys dancing and long distance running. He says he gets a lot of inspiration from energy. 

He said he is especially inspired by other people’s energy, but that anything can fuel creativity.

“I can be inspired by the way two birds are perching outside the library and how they are just sitting there because they wanted to. But at any moment they can fly, while humans can’t fly away.”

When asked about which poem is the favorite of what he’s written, he quickly said, “Every single one.”

But after careful consideration, he said that his favorite piece was something that doesn’t have a title but he calls his “everything poem.”

What fascinates him about poetry is that it serves as a story line of humanity.

“You can read a poem from the 1950s and read one from 2015 and they can sound exactly the same and it’s sort of a beautiful connection across time.”

Verbal Mayhem meets every Wednesday night in Murray Hall Room 114 on College Ave at 9:15 pm.


Danielle Gonzalez

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