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Poetry and instrumental death metal performed by alumni, students, faculty

Poets and writers gathered together to exchange art and ideas at the Wellspring Literacy Series that ended with english professors performing metal remixes on the banjo.

Monday, April 4 students, faculty and Mount Pleasant community members filled the Art Reach Center in downtown Michigan for the seventh and final Wellspring Literary Series event of the school year. The goal of the literary series was to bring Michigan writers and poets together.

“I realized I was black when the rest of the world told me so,” Detroit senior Bryce Huffman recited from his poem 'I Realized I Was Black.'

Huffman was the only student reciting poetry alongside two Central Michigan alumni from Grand Rapids — Michael Sikkema and Jen Tynes.

He said he was invited by English Professor Robert Fanning because of the energy he gives off when performing his slam poetry pieces. 

“I had a 5-year-old smile on my face,” Huffman said. 

Wixom junior Sam Dennis said she was excited to hear poetry from the CMU alumni.

“I like hearing what people have to say and when people are brave and they get up and say it instead of writing it down,” said Dennis. “I think (performing poetry) is an extra element that makes it more interesting and personal.”

Michael Sikkema read poetry from a collaborative chapbook “Time Missing” and his most recent book, “May Apple Deep from Trembling Pillow Press,” inspired from his attempt at writing a cartoon. 

Jen Tynes read poetry from two books, “Heron/Girlfriend” and “Hunter Monies.” She said the poetry she wrote, especially notable in those two books, took place while significant change was happening in her life. 

“I was trying to figure out where I was in life, and (the poems) deal a lot with landscape and trying to maneuver in a new place,” said Tynes.

After the poems were read, the event ended with the band of English professors Darin Doyle, Jeffrey Bean and Robert Fanning doing banjo renditions of songs by artists including Run DMC and the artist formerly known as Prince, an original trilogy they named "The Trilogy of Death." The finale of the performance was a heavy metal version of the CMU alma mater. 

Tustin sophomore Jack Cafretsas said in comparison to the last Wellspring reading, the poetry this night resonated with him.

“I liked Michael Sikkema’s poetry because a lot of it was so abstract and silly,” said Cafretsas. “I enjoyed the wordplay of everything.”

Tustin junior Cody Morrison said he came to the reading as an assignment for his English class and ended up being exposed to new types of poetry. 

“I liked the slam poetry stuff,” said Morrison. “I had never heard it before because we typically do shorter poems in class, so to hear that was cool.”