Lyrical Alliance and Avant team up in Ry’s

Philadelphia poet Warren Longmire reads his personal selections to members of Avant and Lyrical Alliance. -Staff photo/Robert Oszust

Philadelphia poet Warren Longmire reads his personal selections to members of Avant and Lyrical Alliance. -Staff photo/Robert Oszust


Lyrical Alliance’s spoken word artists and Avant Literary Magazine members teamed up for another round of creative writing at Ry’s Bagels in the Whitney Center.

Featuring Philadelphia poet Warren Longmire, the groups collaborated to enjoy a writing workshop, an open mic and a feature of Longmire’s work on Feb. 20.

“It’s definitely special to be able to do a workshop and to perform both for a literary group and for a spoken word performance group at the same time,” Longmire said. “I put a lot of thought into how I want to approach a workshop and bring both of these worlds together.”

Longmire is a poetry editor for the literary publication Apiary Magazine, a founding member of the UPenn Excelano Spoken Word Collective and a frequent Philadelphia representative in national slam competitions, relating to both groups of writers.

He read from works such as “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid to inspire the groups to “write in a voice that’s not ours” in his workshop. He asked writers to think of a person in their lives, a few adjectives to describe him or her and a few sayings he or she repeats in order to write a poem in that person’s voice.

“Sometimes when you find the right voice and just let that cook, the poem really writes itself once you get inside of it,” Longmire said. “It’s fun and always sounds good on stage, so I definitely recommend looking at voice and writing something that’s not just you.”

Longmire was a member of the 2013 Philadelphia Fuze National Poetry Slam team along with president of Lyrical Alliance Scott Sigil, who traveled to Boston for the National Poetry Slam competition.

“He is an incredible writer and has incredible imagery,” Sigil said. “I got to know him quite well and we collaborated on so many group poems together. “

The group became the 25th nationally-ranked poetry team in the country.

“[Longmire] is one of the greatest poetry influences on my writing of anyone living or dead who has existed or not existed or who may be real or imaginary inside of my brain,” Sigil said.

Alex Grover, editor-in-chief of Avant, said that since the Rhythm and Prose event that Avant and Lyrical Alliance collaborate on every semester, they have started teaming up more often.

“Lately we’ve been doing more specialized events where we pull in a poet,” Grover said.

The event was their second gathering at Ry’s at Rowan Bagels  they held their fall Rhythm and Prose event at the bagel shop.

“We started developing a relationship with Ry’s when it opened last semester,” Grover said. “[Ry] understands that there needs to be this kind of community.”

Sigil thinks that this year the clubs have begun to come closer together than before.

“I’m really proud to be in collaboration with Avant and I love how we continued since the instillation of my regime as Lyrical Alliance president — that we’ve been able to do team events and team workshops and events like this and open mics and I’d like for that to continue on,” Sigil said.

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