The following article was written by Maggie Hillegass, a student in English 344.001 (Writing for Publication/Public Writing).

The Michigan winter, dare I say, is upon us. As we face the reality that the sun may only shine a whopping four days over the next three months, we’re inclined to find new resources to save us from this seemingly bleak state of affairs. This could be cheering amongst the Children of Yost at a hockey game, or enjoying drinks at one of the local bars on Main Street, but many people have yet to discover part of the true soul of Ann Arbor: one that has the capability of sending our serotonin levels through the roof — the poetry scene. Yes, Ann Arbor has a pulsing poetry scene that seems to often go unnoticed. Local bookstores and coffee shops frequently host native and traveling artists right here in our own backyard. One coffee shop, in particular boasts a long-standing precedent of influential poets the fourth Tuesday of every month. This is Skazat! at Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea downtown location.

This year, Skazat is celebrating its ten-year anniversary. A wide variety of artists and listeners share in the hour-and-a-half-long gathering every month. Skazat! has featured poets such as Tarfia Faizullah, A Van Jordan, Airea D. Matthews, and more who come together in this intimate venue to share profound perspectives and stories. Not only do listeners have the chance to listen to these recognized poets, but they also have the opportunity to share their own work with the open mic segment that begins the evening. The open mic offers a fun twist on Skazat!’s events. Performers range in ages from 8 to 80 years old, each one offering distinct perspectives and pieces. Other performers include Neutral Zone who have shared their works by their youth Slam Poetry Group, as well as featured poets such as Christian Drake who traveled from New England to share in Skazat!

The show was originally hosted by U-M’s very own Scott Beal, who has had pieces published in journals such as the Indiana Review; Ellen Stone, who leads the Community High School Poetry Club; and Karie Waaralla, another poet who has also created her own one woman show, LONG GONE. The three poets have continued this Ann Arbor tradition throughout the last ten years. and have offered a space for artists and listeners to share in this special communion of individual voices.

Skazat! will be hosting their February show on Tuesday the 25th. The upcoming feature poet is Laura Apol who is an author and professor at Michigan State University. Refreshments will be available along with laughs, gasps, and maybe even a few tears. Come to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea to take part in this unique experience; and discover pieces that will most definitely brighten up your winter blues.