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Poets Speak from Heart at Slam

Rockn' Joe holds a poetry slam and is planning more open mic events.

A crowd of locals gathered for a poetry slam at Rockn' Joes in downtown Millburn on Sunday night, hosted by Irvington resident and wordsmith Kalita "Se'lah" Cox.

Performances included Cox, a Rockn' Joes employee and two recent Millburn High School graduates. The featured artist of the evening was local writer Nasir the Poet.

The first reader was graduate Sophie Soloway, who recited two original poems. Soloway was cheered on by friends, including fellow poet Amanda Jacir.

Next was Newark-based poet Lefthand Gilliam—"one of the fiercest dressed people I know," Cox said. Gilliam also recited original poems, interspersed with singing. Cox followed her friend, performing an ode to her notebook and the craft of writing.

"My pen makes love to the paper with no protection," she said. "I am nothing if my notebook is away from me."

After Cox was Soloway's classmate Jacir, who performed a poem about coffee. 

Nasir the Poet, the featured artist who is originally from Millburn, recited several original poems, many about romantic relationships.

 "My heart beats with the intention of finding love," he said.

Wrapping up the show was Rockn' Joes manager Brett Bickley, who is "not a poet," but a stand-up comedian originally from Southern California. He joked about trips to the South and awkward run-ins with the police. 

Bickley said he planned on making open-mics a regular occurence at Joe's, including poetry slams, music and comedy. For now, "depending on how well we do," similar events will be hosted at Joe's every Sunday night. 

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