On Feb. 22 The Plug Poetry Event returned to Chattanooga with readings from local poets and guest readers.
The poetry scene of Chattanooga is on the rise and one of the big ways it is growing is through events such as The Plug Poetry Project. The annual event was hosted for the second time last week by local poet and literary activist Christian Collier and was a huge hit.
Turnout this year was great with Christian admitting at the start of the event that many more people came than was expected. The event consisted of two parts with the first being a free poetry workshop. The highlight of the day though had to be the readings that took place that night. Keynote speaker Jose Olivarez absolutely stole the show and was joined by two fantastic local poets.
Tiffany Herron and Moll King both opened the night with readings of their own original poetry. Both are local poets who are heavily involved with the local poetry scene and who often participate in events like The Plug Poetry Project.
“This event was my first reading ever in a public forum aside from once in a class,” Herron said. “It means a lot to me that Christian asked for me to speak as I am so passionate about local poetry.”
This event is huge for local poets and writers as it is another step towards bringing literature to the forefront of Chattanooga’s art scene. Writers like Moll King are especially excited as this brings new opportunities for her and other locals.
“It means so much for me that I was asked to read,” King said. “Christian is unifying the poets in Chattanooga and using events like this to bring the community together.”
Jose Olivarez is one of the first LatinX speakers to ever be featured at an event like this in Chattanooga and the idea of embracing diversity was the focal point of the readings. Each reader brought with them original material that highlighted their unique ethnic backgrounds and the value of embracing other cultures.
“My poems deal a lot with the subject of immigration,” Olivarez said. “I hope that people will leave here today feeling inspired and willing to act.”
Tiffany Herron read poems that dealt with her recent discovery that she is of Polynesian descent, adding to the overarching theme of diversity. She said that this topic is especially important to her because few people in the area actually know about Polynesian culture and its history. The poems that Moll King presented dealt with recent struggles she has faced as a single parent, another underrepresented group in most media.
Citizen Illegal (BreakBeat Poets) Vol. 4 LatiNext is Olivarez’s latest book and he will be officially published this April. He also is a host on the podcast The Poetry Gods and can be followed on Instagram, @_joseolivarez. Tiffany Herron can also be followed, @tjherr0n, and Christian Collier can be followed, @ichristian3030, to keep up with their poetry endeavors.