Poetry and coffeehouses have a historical bond, from Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance to Jack Kerouac and the Beat Movement, poets have often gathered in coffeehouses and shared their own poems or recited the work of others to a compelled audience.
n Laguna Niguel has reincarnated that historical tradition, hosting an open mic poetry night each Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for members of the community to read or listen to poetry for two hours.
The idea to host the open mic nights came about when Kathryn Kruger, a Peet's employee, was talking with co-workers about their desire to be more involved with the community that makes up their customer base and the fact that there are no venues available for like-minded poetry fans to gather and appreciate poems.
After a crowd of more than 20 people for the initial gathering, last week's group was a bit smaller but no less enthused about the night, with over a dozen people coming to share original works, read others' works and even sing a few songs as the night wore down.
Rosalie Armijo, who read "Andrew" by Andrea Gibson, admitted a bit of nervousness at reading in public before an unknown audience but was also pleased to have some familiar faces in the audience.
"It's always a little scary [reading] in front of a crowd, you never know who your audience is going to be. People seem to be coming and going, so it's a little scary but we've got some friends in there too, so I'm alright."
For her part, Kruger thinks that the environment at Peet's is a natural fit for the weekly gathering.
"The atmosphere here is perfect for [the open mic night]. I was hoping more of [other Peet's employees] would read, but they've been a little shy about it. The people here, we talk about literature, we pass books around all the time. It's a good environment to support creativity."
Kruger also expressed hope that the weekly event can evolve into something that attracts a regular gathering of creative individuals looking for a place to express themselves.
"I want it to grow, to get the word out there. I don't know anywhere else in the area where people can come and share their creativity, so I'm hoping people come. Everyone is welcome."