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The Scarlet & Black

Wirsing Preaches Poems

By Eric Mistry

As she performed her poetry in Herrick Chapel this past Monday, spoken word poet Katie Wirsing had her audience’s complete attention, whether making them guffaw with her humorous anecdotes or rendering them enraptured with her emotionally charged poems.

Spoken word poet Katie Wirsing emphasizes her verse with ges- tures. Wirsing appeared at Herrick Chapel last Monday. Photograph by Mary Zheng

Wirsing opened the show with a casual rapport with the audience members. She described her voyage to Grinnell from Connecticut and the shenanigans she encountered along the way, like a “no snow globes” sign at airport security and a seatmate who gave her a revealing photo of himself after their flight together. This conversation flowed into one of her poems, a moving tribute to her grandmother’s efforts to become more accepting of her lifestyle.

As she spoke, the words resonated with power in the silent chapel, charging the air with emotion. Wirsing moved her arms as she spoke, bringing importance to every syllable, extra emphasis to every nuance. She commanded the stage and drew the audience into her world of words.

However, not every poem was serious. Wirsing had the audience cracking up as she performed an innuendo-laced poem about bareback horse riding and a series of extremely short poems with hilariously long titles.

The performance was one of the first events of Pride Week. Wirsing, as an often politically queer poet, was an excellent choice to kick off festivities and mentioned throughout the show how impressed she was with Grinnell’s LGBTQ community.

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