Poetry in the Boro

DSC_0228May is one of my favorite months of the year. Not only does it house a few personal milestones of mine, but it also sits in the very heart of spring, the season of beginnings. So it only makes sense that my very first poetry night happened in May, just as my internship with MTSU Write was taking off.

One of MTSU Write’s goals is to bolster the writing community, connecting writers and popularizing local talent, especially here in the Murfreesboro area – MTSU’s hometown. That’s why we very proudly sponsor a monthly event for Murfreesboro poets called Poetry in the Boro, an open mic night where anyone can share their work and meet other writers.

It all began, according to the event’s founder, Kory Wells, “with a classic plot: a stranger comes to  town.” Kory is a published poet, author of HEAVEN WAS THE MOON, and was just named Murfreesboro’s very first Poet Laureate. When a poet named Kerri French moved to Murfreesboro, she began networking and connected with Kory, along with a few other local poets. They formed a group which they named The Delineators, comprised of Kory, Kerri, Bryanna Licciardi, Aaron Shapiro, and Will Brown. They began reading as a group at the Boro Art Crawl events in Murfreesboro “to an enthusiastic response.” The only formal poetry readings in the area were all the way in Nashville, a trip to which, Kory says, “takes a lot to talk myself into going.” (Same, Kory. Same.)

So, after probing the Crawl and finding plenty of interested locals, Kory took on the task of creating Murfreesboro’s own poetry night. With the help of poets Denise Wilson and Allison Boyd Justus, she gathered ideas. She quickly secured sponsorship with MTSU Write via our fearless leader, Jennifer Kates, and found that Joe and Kimberly Minter were more than willing to open the doors of The Green Dragon Public House to be their first (and most frequent) venue.

August 2016 debuted Poetry in the Boro, where nearly thirty people came thirsty for an outlet like this, and “it was immediately clear that this was something that resonated with people.”

Ten months later, the event is going strong and showing no signs of stopping. Complete with monthly word challenges and serious community involvement and support, their mission is to “provide a welcoming and supportive environment for expression of all community voices in poetry, spoken word and short-short prose.”

May’s event was a smash hit, and I loved every minute of it.

Hosted again at The Green Dragon Public House (which I love dearly for its community involvement, local support, and excellent cider), we all gathered in the back room in folding chairs and listened as special guest poets Destiny Birdsong and Poetry in the Boro Co-creator Allison Boyd Justus opened the night by the light of the sinking sun. Samples of Destiny’s work can be found at her website, and you’ll be thanking yourself when you check out her careful, heartbreaking pieces.

Destiny Birdsong

Also, Allison celebrated the release of her debut book of poetry, SOLSTICE TO SOLSTICE TO SOLSTICE, a chronicle of a year’s worth of sunrises (of which I now own a signed copy).

Allison Boyd Justus

Afterwards came the open mic, where we had twelve more poets come and share their work, each with their own distinctive style. Those who have public profiles or work are linked in the caption, so feel free to take in the talent at leisure.

(Top left to bottom right: Toriana Williams, Anna Mouse, Jamal Jazz Ukwu, Bryanna LicciardiChristopher Williams)

If you’ve ever been interested in poetry, I encourage you to take a look at this event or others like it in your area. Many thanks to Kory Wells for allowing me to pick her brain and for working so hard to provide our town with an outlet for connection and expression in Murfreesboro’s writing community.

To learn more about MTSU Write visit our website at www.mtsu.edu/write, and be sure to check out our social media! We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Written by: Amy Roberts, MTSU Write Intern



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