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Poet Sarah Kay visits Ohio State, gives advice to students in Spoken Word event

Alexandria Chapin / Lantern photographer

Spoken word poet Sarah Kay blended performance with poetry at Ohio State Monday night, making some audience members laugh and think while attempting to inspire them to write.
The Ohio Union Activities Board event “An Evening with Sarah Kay, Spoken Word Poet” began at 7:30 p.m. in the Archie M. Griffin West Ballroom in the Ohio Union.
At the event Kay performed about 10 of her poems. Between the poetry performances, Kay spoke about a wide variety of personal topics, including her family, work and travels, giving context for the audience to better understand and appreciate her poetry.
At the end of the event, Kay opened up the floor to the audience for a short Q-and-A session, during which she answered several questions from students and offered advice to budding poets and writers in attendance.
“What advice do I have for someone who wants to start writing or get back into writing? Stop being scared of yourself,” Kay said. “It’s OK to write bad poems.”
MacGregor Obergfell, the lectures chair for OUAB and one of the event’s organizers, said in an email that students might know Kay best from her TED talk. The talk, which is from March 2011, has over 2 million views on TED.com.
TED talks are short presentations based on “ideas worth spreading.”
Obergfell said the popularity of Kay’s TED talk and of TED talks in general was one motivation for OUAB to bring Kay to campus to perform.
“This is an opportunity for OUAB to have an event that we really have never done before. With the success of TED talks on campus and off, plus a chance to showcase an art form we don’t often focus on, the decision to bring Sarah to campus was a fairly easy one,” Obergfell said in the email.
Raybecca Elder, a second-year in English, said she had seen Kay’s TED talk before coming to the event.
“I think it was really interesting to actually see her in person, and all the little commentary in between was interesting,” Elder said.
Before the event, Obergfell said he thought the way Kay would combine her performances with her speaking portions in between would add another element to the event.
“The performance will be a great entertainment component, and the lecture elements will add an academic piece,” Obergfell said in the email.
OUAB declined to comment on the cost of the event. 

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