HSU-Hot Springs Academic Initiative is hosting an evening of poetry Friday, April 13 at the Landmark Building at 6 pm - 7:30 pm. The artworks from the Daughters of the Diaspora exhibit will be the backdrop for poetry reading. Arkansas poets, Kai Coggin, Jessica Key, and Crystal Mercer will read selections from their published works. There will also be a 35 minute open mic period for reading poetry written by women of color.
Kai Coggin was born is Bangkok, Thailand and is a Hot Springs poet. She is the author of two collections of poetry, PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014) and WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016).In 2017 her spoken word album SILHOUETTE was released. Kai is a specialized Teaching Artist of Creative Writing, on the Arts in Education Roster for the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning for the Arts. She also teaches a community adult creative writing class at Emergent Arts called Words & Wine. She writes poems of love, spirituality, the striving of the soul, feminism, race, sexuality, global injustice, metaphysics, and beauty. Everything that she writes is infused with Heart and Light. Kai knows that words hold the potential to create monumental and global change, and she uses her words like a sword of Beauty. She can be found most Wednesdays at a Kollective Coffee+Tea, reading her poems into an open mic, hoping the wind carries her words out to the world.
Little Rock native, Jessica Key, is a motivational author inspiring many to self reflect on their life and make plans for a positive change. At a young age Jessica was obese as well as throughout her young adult life. Jessica uses her voice through prose and poetry to share her challenges and insightful journey of realizing the importance of loving one's self first. Her first book, CONFESSIONS OF A BUDDAFLI: RELATIONSHIPS, FOOD, AND SELF–ESTEEN (2018) is a poetic summary of the life of Jessica Key and her experiences as what she called ‘a little fat black girl’ who never liked what she saw in the mirror. Over the years Jessica grew into a young woman that found comfort in food causing her to be obese at a young age. Throughout life she experienced multiple bad relationships with men that furthered her desire to bury herself in the over indulgence of food. Through faith, prayer, and dedication Jessica transcended above all and is now an Author, Motivational Speaker, Accountability Coach, Health/Wellness Specialist and as of 2018 a Zumba Instructor.
Crystal C. Mercer is a native from Little Rock. She's a Performance Artist, Poet, Activist and the Sole Proprietor of Columbus Creative Arts + Activism and SAFI FABric MARKET. Mercer's past credits include a number of plays and musicals in Arkansas, off - Broadway in New York, and internationally in Canterbury, England. Mercer fuses arts and activism by using theatre and textiles to tell social justice narratives, through merchandising and storytelling, with an emphasis of uplifting voices of color. A LOVE STORY WAITING TO HAPPEN (Butterfly Typeface Publishing), Mercer's first full body of published work, is a rhythmic, raw, and open movement of poetry that explores love, grief, mourning, freedom, social justice, sex, and courtships. Blending an intoxicating concoction of poetry and imagery, Mercer engages her intellect, molding herself to express stories that are both universal in nature and indicative of her journey in the full spectrum of love… Ebb - Flow. Chaos - Calm. Good - Bad. Ugly - Lovely.