By Taylor Bush | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new gathering of poets has begun meeting on Thursday nights at Flavors Eatery on King Street in St. Augustine, Fla. They met for the first gathering on Oct. 23 and had 21 attendees with six readers. The Oct. 30 meeting saw attendance increase to 25, with 10 people participating in readings.
Audrey Bernhardt, a Flagler College alumni who works at Flavors, created the event and named it “Prose and Cans,” a nod to the dollar-off drink specials the restaurant has during the readings. Bernhardt is an artist and aims to have a community collaboration weekly and also to have a featured artist each week to open the show.
“My friends and I used to have gatherings, and we missed the outlet, so I figured this would be a good way to have motivation and a positive, creative space for the community to join in,” Bernhardt said.
Bernhardt has worked at Flavors Eatery for more than two years and also works at multiple art galleries in downtown St. Augustine, where she hopes to hold other creative events.
Prose and Cans is the first poetry gathering at Flavors Eatery outside of their music shows during normal business hours. The gathering occurs after the kitchen closes and only drinks are sold, but with the amount of people showing up, they may decide to start selling food as well.
Attendees have the choice to read, sing, or just watch. The stage is open to all types of creativity, such as music, poetry, comedy, acting, painting, or just reading a page out of a book.The work can be their own or someone else’s that inspires them. There will be books provided by the hosts and also brought by those who are attending.
Jane Kavanagh, the owner of Flavors Eatery, supports the event. She aims to inspire creativity throughout the community and her restaurant.
“I am excited that people are gathering to share, inspire, and create with each other, it really brings the community together and is an open, creative space to just be yourself,” Kavanagh said.
Bernhardt drew posters and flyers for the event and is posting them around St. Augustine to spread the word, but the event relies mainly on word of mouth. Supporters also created a Facebook page that posts weekly updates and allows people to like the page and post ideas and feedback for the event. The page also allows members to collaborate with each other and stay connected.
Emily Thompson, a reader at the first event, read poems from “The Poet’s Companion,” and plans to attend each week to motivate her writing.
“I have a hard time sitting down and putting a pen to the paper, however Prose and Cans allows me to observe the work of those in the community and to share poems from other writers out loud that inspire me until I get work of my own,” Thompson said.
The last two gatherings featured a diverse age group of readers ranging from high school students to retirees.
Prose and Cans will continue to meet each week and invites people of all ages and walks of life to participate or just listen.