Clark County Poet Laureate Heather Lang-Cassera knows the benefits of writing poetry. As an educator with Nevada State College, a community workshop leader, a poetry publisher, and a poet herself, Lang-Cassera often champions poetry writing as a practice that helps individuals understand their thoughts and emotions as well as the world in which we live.
Starting during the month of October, on every first Tuesday of the month, Lang-Cassera will be hosting an open mic at the West Charleston Library. The series, "Poet Laureate & Pals Open Mic," will be free and open to the public and is an encouraging environment within which community members can read their poems. During 2019, these events will take place at 6 pm on October 1st, November 5th, and December 3rd. Lang-Cassera's co-hosts will include Charlene Stegman Moskal and Jennifer Battisti. Battisti was recently named Best Local Writer by the readers of KNPR's Desert Companion.
When asked about the first open mic of the series taking place on October 1st, the date of the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy, Lang-Cassera responded, "These particular open mic events do not have nightly topics. However, this would absolutely be a space within which writers could reflect on 1 October. For example, I plan to read a poem on the healing nature of the desert landscape and another poem about the Vegas Golden Knights and the strength of our Las Vegas."
On September 21st, Lang-Cassera read at The Writer's Block for "Through Poetry: Exploring the Strength of Our Community After 1 October," a project supported by the Nevada Arts Council, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the state of Nevada.
"Open mics are extremely important," says Lang-Cassera. "They tend to be an ideal place to hear the work of more seasoned poets, which is one of the ways we can grow as artists, as well as the perfect place for someone to read their first-ever poem to an encouraging audience." Community members can bring a few poems to read at the open mic, or they can come without poems and listen. Both readers and listeners are warmly welcome.