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RC poets take over Lexington to raise public awareness

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Nathaniel Rioux

Staff writer

This past Saturday a group of poets took to the streets all over the world to participate in flash poetry reading.

The event, called “100 Thousand Poets for Change” was started in an attempt to raise the public awareness to issues happening in their community and all over the world. The goal was not to protest violently but raise awareness of these social issues and bring about discussion in the local community.

In Lexington, a small group of Roanoke College students joined up with the Lexington chapter founded by an RC creative writing professor, Cynthia Atkins.

The collection of poets, ranging from college students to just poetry enthusiasts, took to the streets stopping at the local Kroger grocery store, the Lexington City Hall, and the town’s recycling center. They recited words from the poem A Red Wheel Barrow, by William Carlos Williams, to the beat of drums as shoppers in Kroger stood and watched. They raised a white chicken up in front of the steps of city hall as onlookers took pictures and videos from their phones. They danced on recycling bins as people went about their business.

Meagan Cole ’14 described it as “..a fun, spontaneous opportunity and fun for all poets.”

Through the power of social media people from all over the world posted videos, including some steaming live of the event that took place on that day. Events not only happened in Virginia but places as far away as Poland and Greece. What started out as a small venue now has become a major event that involves many countries.

People who participated in the event were not just poets but anybody who had a passion to raise awareness in a peaceful manner.

Although social media has allowed for the misuse of flash mobs as seen in the events such in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, this poetry reading was a refreshing change for the good. The idea of bringing a whole globe together in one event was a feat that five years ago would probably have never been possible.

The organizers of the event are already planning to have another reading next year.

Even though the weather in Lexington could have been better, the mood of everybody who participated was most certainly bright.