Poetry Reading and Open Mic Presented by Open Ceilings Magazine

Open Ceilings team.

By Nora Lelivelt

DAVIS – Open Ceilings’ first virtual open mic and poetry night was full of positivity and support; showcasing fourteen powerful UC Davis students’ and community members’ voices. The theme, Wintertide, may have been in reference to the coldest season of the year but was antithetical to the warmth and comfort of the evening.

Open Ceilings is a semiannual magazine publication run by 23 undergraduate students attending UC Davis. Their mission is to provide prose, poetry and photography a consistent platform for publication, as well as to empower previously unheard voices. 

Last Friday’s event began by sharing favorite book recommendations between the 40-some people in attendance. The top recommended books include “They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us” by Hanif Abdurraqib; “The Old Way” by Elizabeth Marshall; “Since I Laid my Burden Down” by Brontez Purnell and “The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers” by Bhanu Kapil. 

The poetry reading segment, hosted by Mali, featured five readers from the Open Ceilings’ family of contributors, Ruth Christopher, Spencer Rico, Alyssa Henderson, Ahmad Sleiman and Gabriela Gonzalez. Each was provided a 15-minute segment to share poems written by or meaningful to themselves.

To start off the poetry reading, Christopher shared a piece she wrote titled “So That.” This piece was performed once in English and again in Spanish, providing a beautiful addition to an already perfect piece: 

“… You’re my pulse, my fierce, my fear. So that when you illumin, my eyes flicker. So that when you roar, my teeth shake. So that when you sweat, I taste of salt. So that when you sleep, I float with you. I am your center, your balance, your flight.” 

The poems presented by each reader were powerful and compelling. Stories about love and loss, protests and longing approval, mental health, religion, dancing and a laughing baby; each poem was able to provide a meaningful perspective on emotionally rich topics. 

To read these poems, many of them have been published in the newly released edition of Open Ceilings, Shoes Before Socks or previously published edition, Undergrowth.

Next, the open mic segment provided an opportunity for nine presenters, including two first-time-ever speakers, to share their favorite or original pieces. Two new speakers were welcomed to Open Ceilings’ virtual microphone this evening and performed their original poems with grace.

Additionally, all are welcomed and encouraged to attend spring quarter’s virtual open mic and poetry night. Follow @open.ceilings on Instagram for future event details. 

To learn more about Open Ceilings’ mission, the public submission process and upcoming events please visit: https://www.openceilingsmagazine.com

To find where you can purchase past publications of Open Ceilings locally, please reach out to shopopenceilings@gmail.com

Nora Lelivelt is a fourth-year Cell Biology major at UC Davis, also minoring in Professional Writing and Biodiversity.

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