Every Thursday, from 3 to 4 p.m., a group dedicated to educating themselves and practicing in the ways of spoken word meets in room C103, located between the
student commons and the cafeteria. They call themselves the SPITTERS, but not because they expectorate. “Spitters is actually an acronym,” Ali Colucci, co-founder and president of the SPITTERS club says as an introduction to newcomers, it stands for “Spoken-word Performance with Inclusivity Through Teaching, Education, Respect and Safety.”
Colucci believes that, “spoken word is something that can make you feel very, very vulnerable.” It becomes evident throughout any meeting that respect and safety are the core of the SPITTERS ideology. The group acknowledges that the creation of serious and emotional pieces is often terrifying enough for
those both new and seasoned in the art and performance is often the point at which people draw a line in the sand, so it is considered paramount that members can feel safe within the walls of the room.
The meetings begin with 10 minute warm-ups, a sort of flexing of their ‘performing muscles,’ and trails into introductions. Conversations may likely get skewed by jokes and general snarkiness from all parties, but all present manage to cheerily introduce themselves with a name, preferred gender pronoun and a brief description of their experience writing. When introductions conclude, all present who have
written the prompts given the week previous are prompted to share their work, though no one is required to speak. Depending on the prompt, pieces range from immensely serious and profoundly intimate, to trivial and intentionally silly.
Colucci explained, “Whether it be about your mother’s favorite color or a love letter between peanut butter and jelly or your shoes and your pink shirt in your closet talking. It doesn’t matter what the prompt is. You don’t
always have to be serious about it, but you don’t always have to be funny about it either.”
The meeting of Oct. 31 was a particularly serious one. Esther Mulinge, BC student and co-founder of the
club, said about a particularly dear piece that she shared that, “It took me exactly two and a half hours writing this piece and I cried and I bawled my eyes out … now it’s very dear to me.”
Education follows the sharing as the group rallies around whoever is leading the meeting that week for the lesson segment of the meeting. Particularly powerful pieces are analyzed and often simply absorbed, be they light-hearted or completely raw and heart-breaking, such as the Brave New Voices 2010 finalist Jay Davis’ grabbing piece, ‘Favorite Color.’
After this particular piece was played in the meeting, Anna Greer, BC student, noted that she likes: “spoken word because I like being able to bring out my emotions. And I don’t like crying, it’s not something I do. I get angry, and I get mean. But this is the perfect outlet.”
For anyone needing to express something built up, looking to sharpen their wordplay or simply wanting to laugh with poets, come learn how to spit with the SPITTERS.