Volition Creates Space for Expression

A night of poetry and performance with Mason’s literary publication


Fourth Estate/Maggie Roth

The artists, poets and musicians of Mason got the opportunity to share their work in front of a crowd when Volition, Mason’s student literary magazine, held their open mic night on Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Johnson Center Bistro. Students were encouraged to get up on stage and share their creative works — anything and everything, from spoken word to musical numbers.

Senior english major and Executive Editor of Volition Zaria Talley emceed the event. Students were called up one by one to share their creations in front of a supportive crowd of peers.

“We hold two open mic nights a semester; they’re for students to come out, show their work and experience for the community,” Talley said.

Some students had performed at events like this before and seemed to know everyone in the crowd, while others explained that it was their first time at an open mic, or their first time sharing their work at all.

“It’s a mix. Some students aren’t the type to want to perform their stuff in person, so they submit [their work] to the magazine, but we see some familiar names from performances that decide to submit,” Talley said.

There were numerous subjects addressed in the art on stage. Some students used the platform as an opportunity to express feelings of love, loneliness and grief through their poetry and song, while others focused their works on matters of identity or politics.

“I like that it’s an opportunity to share the poems that I write, and also to hear other really awesome poetry, music and stand-up, and everything else people do,” said Sally Deen, a freshman English major.

Deen, who also serves as a member of the Poetry and Prose staff team at Volition, was among those performing.

“Hearing other people recite poetry or sing inspires me,” Deene explained. “I think the more writing and other forms of art I consume, the better my writing gets.”

For students who want to see their art published, the open mic night also served as a way to familiarize students with Volition, and to introduce them to the idea of having their work published.

“It’s a good way for them to show their creative sides, but also a good way to show the magazine to people who may not know what Volition is,” Talley said. “It’s an opportunity for us to brand ourselves, and it’s a way for students to interact with another way than just submitting to the magazine.”

Submissions to have student work published in the magazine are open from now until March 29. Any creative materials, including poetry, prose and visual art can be submitted for review.

“We’re looking for really anything,” Talley said, “Prose, poetry, photography, you can take pictures of sculptures … Anything you want to submit to us, we’ll take.”

Volition will be collaborating with the Office of Women and Gender Studies for the next open mic night scheduled for March 23 in Merten Hall.