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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art hosts the Third Thursday Poetry Series the third Thursday of every month. Each month, there’s an open mic for anyone who wants to read their poetry aloud, followed by a visiting poet reading his or her work to an audience of young students, professors and members of the community.

The last installment of the series for the fall 2016 semester will be held Thursday, Nov. 17. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Visit the website for more information on the series and to check for updates for the spring 2017 schedule.

Garrett Hongo is the attending poet for the Nov. 17 Third Thursday Poetry Series. He attended Pomona College, the University of Michigan and UC Irvine. His latest book of poetry, “Coral Road,” was published by Knopf in 2011. He is also the author of “Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’I,” and among his honors are the Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Fulbright Fellowship and the Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. 

Raye May, a graduate student in the Department of English, has been attending since 2013. She said that the elegant venue might be intimidating to newcomers expecting a formal event, but that it’s just the opposite, which gives everyone a unique opportunity.

“It’s really relaxed. A jazz band plays before the reading starts, and the café serves appetizers and drinks, which makes it feel pretty low-key. It’s awesome because not only are you interacting with your professors and meeting other creative types, but you’re also in the room with these amazingly talented, famous poets in an atmosphere where you feel comfortable approaching them and talking to them,” May said.

May encourages all those who are interested in poetry to attend. The event is also an opportunity for published and unpublished artists to perform their work in a positive environment during the open mic portion at the beginning of each meeting.

“Local artists deserve support, and Third Thursday gives them such a great outlet,” May said. “Even if you’re just reading at the open mic portion, and you’re not published yet, it’s such an amazing way to get situated into a community of poets and artists. Everyone should go at least once.”