Waco Poet’s Society gives outlet to creative artists

The Waco Poet Society offers Waco locals an outlet to not only speak, but also to be heard. Photo courtesy of Abbie Williams

By Foster Nicholas | Reporter

Waco Poet’s Society fosters a creative outlet to poets and spoken word artists, who haven’t always been open and accepted in the Waco community.

They offer a safe space for people of all ages to share their work and have a community that understands and cares for one another. The next meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. Saturday at the Jubilee Theater. The featured poet for March is Liv Nortillo-Clark, a Baylor graduate who currently lives in Waco.

“Having a creative outlet specific to your art form can help relieve anxiety and stress, but it also creates a space for people to come together as a community,” poet Eileen Murphy said.

Waco native Abbie Williams is one of three administrators who run the society. She became involved through her experiences and has the goal of creating a space where people can share their poetry and feel welcome in the community. She took over a few years before COVID-19 and has grown with the group.

“Someone else was running it and it was kind of falling apart and I noticed that. I was still in high school here because I’m from Waco and I just thought, ‘This cannot leave.’ It was such an outlet for me, especially in high school. So I offered to help with it and kind of ended up running it at 16, which was ridiculous,” Williams said.

Williams currently runs the group with two other people. The group meets at the Jubilee Theater once a month for an open mic night that includes a feature poet, as well as an hour-and-a-half open mic night time for anyone who wants to share a piece of their own. The first meeting in person since the beginning of COVID-19 took place in January. Less than 15 people attended the event, however in February the amount of attendees nearly doubled.

“Our goal is to recreate what we used to have, but I also wanted to make sure I created a poetry space. Before we were the Waco Poet’s Society, that had musicians and even actors want to come and read short stories. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just know that there is already a space for that in Waco,” Williams said. “I kind of want it to be poetry centric. So I came in with a goal to create that space. Now that we’ve become big enough, there’s enough people who just want a space for poetry and we provide that.”

In the future, the group plans to make Waco a central Texas poetry hotspot that includes poetry of all types. The group would like to have multiple meetings a month and is currently looking at options for the future.

“As I like numbers, they literally mean nothing in a sense. I’m not trying to gain popularity but it does show interest, bodies show interest, and I think just witnessing and watching growth over the next year is gonna be really good,” Williams said. “I don’t really have plans to leave Waco anytime soon so I’m okay if it’s a slow growth, because what we’re doing now is working and I’m not going to add anything new if it doesn’t make us better.”