After spending over a year alone during the COVID-19 pandemic, Quinnipiac University students are eager to make connections on campus.
The Montage Literary and Arts Journal hosted an Open Mic Night at the Carl Hansen Student Center on November 3rd, which was extended
a warm invitation to the Quinnipiac creative community to connect with its members socially and emotionally.
Dim lighting and a cherry blossom background provide the backdrop for club members to share their artistic work from original spoken word poetry to musical covers in an intimate setting.
“Open Mic Nights really give everyone the opportunity to share their voice,” said Tamara Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Montage.
Isabella Torres, a freshman business student, opened the night at the same time and made her montage debut with a literacy narrative, an introspective piece that describes her experiences as a writer. She quickly connected with audiences through her struggle with academic validation and classroom anxiety, a common experience of college students who, 87% say, cite education as their main source of stress The American Psychological Association.
Torres thanked Montage for the opportunity to use writing as a therapeutic tool to penetrate her emotions.
“I literally come to know more and more about myself as the essay progresses,” said Torres.
Torres wasn’t the only student to make a debut. English Major August Bishop’s first montage appearance in the first year included two heartbreaking poems about romantic relationships and their lasting effects. She explained the role of writing for people who understand their own emotional states and said it made them question their perspective on life.
“Seeing the good for the bad and being able to make something beautiful out of it is really cool,” said Bishop.
The second half of the performance contained an excerpt from Ineffable, an independent project initiated by Haktan Ceylan, a leading dual degree in philosophy and political science. “Ineffable” is a mixture of unconventional poetry, graphics and music curated under Ceylan’s pseudonym Natkah Nalyec.
Ceylan announced the project in August 2021, but it has been brewing for over two years. Largely inspired by his transition from childhood to college, he touches on family issues, love, and heartbreak.
Written at a crucial time in his life, Ceylan said “Ineffable” helped him overcome personal struggles.
“I think the art brought some liberation and I am forever grateful for what it was able to do for me then about my mental health,” Ceylan said.
While each piece has a private undertone, he is excited to see how the audience will relate to his work and embody it as their own when the final project is released on December 24th.
“The great thing about ‘Ineffable’ is that there is something for everyone,” said Ceylan. “This is no longer my project, this is yours.”
Audience involvement was an important part of his performance as he often called for interaction, such as waving his hands to the beat of the music and using flashlights to set the mood.
After the success of its first in-person event since the pandemic, Montage plans to continue pushing creativity
with monthly open microphones in the future. Anderson hopes they will increase the club’s engagement.
Montage has been on campus for 40 years and is well known for its open microphones. They were previously moderated by assembly faculty advisor Ken Cormier until he handed over the baton to the student leaders six years ago. He is happy about the commitment and participation of the club members in the open mic.
“I’m really happy to see that the students care so much that they are now taking it over and carrying it on for a few years,” said Cormier.
Although primarily based on writing, Montage is open to students of all degrees and talents. The club offers many opportunities for music, painting, sculpture, photography and graphic design.
“It’s not just about our members or the people who are interested in montage, it’s also about anyone who has artistic skills, who has something they want to share with the community,” said Anderson.
Cormier encouraged students to participate in upcoming open mic offerings or contribute to the Montage Journal, published each spring, promoting campus-wide talent.
“Every college experience really deserves and requires some kind of artistic element, and Montage is one of those places where students can find creative fellowship,” said Cormier.