Bobby Gonzalez is a Bronx-based multicultural motivational speaker, storyteller and poet. He is the author of several poetry books including TAINO ZEN, and starting in April he will resume his free Open Mic series. Held the first Thursday of each month, Open Mic is for poets, storytellers, free style rappers, and emerging artists of all ages. Themes are suggested to inspire, but poems and stories performed need not follow the suggested theme. He gave us a preview of what’s in store this season.
How and when did you get interested in poetry?
I was inspired by the music I listened to in the 1960’s. I played guitar and wrote original songs, the lyrics being the first poetry I created.
Why is poetry satisfying to you?
Poetry is satisfying to me because there are no rules to follow. I am free to express myself in any manner that I wish.
Why do people turn to poetry?
There are many reasons why people turn to poetry. One reason is that it can be a means of healing. They write about past experiences and sometimes share them in a public forum.
What happens at an Open Mic?
Members of the community share their poetry, stories, songs and even dance in a safe, supportive environment.
You’ve held Open Mics last season at Flushing Town Hall. What stands out most from these events?
What stood out was the cultural and ethnic diversity of the participants. Attendees read poetry and sang songs in non-English languages and felt no need to translate. The spirit of the pieces spoke for them selves.
Who do these Open Mics appeal to?
These Open Mics appeal to folks who feel a need to connect with other folks and exchange thoughts in a positive setting. The social interaction before, during and after the Open Mic are vital components of the total experience.
Do you have a special theme for each event?
There are themes to each month. However, performers are not limited to them:
- April 6 – Poetry & Jazz
- May 4 – Mothers
- June 1 – Fathers
- July 6 – Country
- August 3 – Dog Days of Summer
- September 7 – Back to School
The Open Mic series takes place at 6:00 PM on each of the dates above. All of the Open Mic sessions are free and no RSVPs are required. You can learn more by visiting us here.