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Life gets an open mic
Barton Community College celebrates National Poetry Month
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David Berry reads a poem, Wednesday during open mic time at the Barton Community College Student Union. The college is celebrating National Poetry Month.

Today is “Poem In Your Pocket Day.” Even though it’s not an official holiday, Barton Community College English instructor Jaime Oss hopes some of us will carry copies of poems in our pockets and give them to other people throughout the day.
The college is celebrating National Poetry Month by inviting students and the community to post poetry online and with tweets. People are also invited to recite others’ poetry or share their original work during open mic sessions in the Student Union. The last live reading will be from 12:15-12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. At that time, the writer of the best student poem will win a Kindle ebook reader.
This week, students Terra Hull, Jeret Johnson and David Berry took turns at the microphone, along with Oss and Teresa Johnson, chairman of Barton’s Communications Department.
Hull read an original poem about her mother – and about thoughts of turning into her mother – while Jeret Johnson read a poem by Indian writer Shashikant Nishant Sharma. “With all the news going on, all the negativeness, I decided to do something a little happier,” he said.
Berry’s original poem was inspired by hip-hop music.
Oss said Wednesday’s offerings were all examples of good poetry, but in one sense, there really is no bad poetry. “It’s what everyone thinks; it’s what we all feel,” she said.
“My goal is to make poetry more accessible – to de-mystify it – to everyone who might be interested,” Oss said. “Poetry is a great way to share our human experiences at any age, at any craft level, at any interest level.”  
Submissions can be posted to the college’s website at Or, tweet a poem of 129 characters and include #BartonPoem in the tweet.
Oss and Teresa Johnson are also taking submissions for the fourth annual edition of Barton’s literary magazine, Prairie Ink, which will be published this summer. For more information contact Oss at or 620-792-7269.