When the word poetry is brought up, the first thing that comes to the mind is literature studied in high school classrooms–poets like William Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson often come to mind as well.

Poetry is often viewed as something that is boring and dull, but groups such as the Mayhem Poets aim to show audiences that poetry is more entertaining than what it first appears to be. The Mayhem Poets performed in the D.P. Culp Center Auditorium on Feb. 6, and they showed the audience that poetry can be more than the stuff of high school reading assignments.

“We’ve been performing together as Mayhem Poets since 2005,” member Mason Granger said. “People call it slam poetry, performance poetry, spoken; word those are kind of like blanket terms…It really is some of this some of that.”

Throughout the evening the three performers Mason Granger, Scott Raven and Mikumari Caiyhe performed a variety of poems that ranged from comical to serious, focusing on topics such as culture and race.

“They’re good, they did a great job,” audience member Cristian Quizhpi said. “I read their little bio and they’ve won different awards and they’ve competed in competitions so they’re obviously really good. They’re very diverse.”

Caiyhe said that when coming up with material for the shows a lot of times it happens a lot of different ways. It can be an idea that someone from the audience shares with them, or if they do a writing work shop it can be a prompt that someone creates.

“We’ll say, ‘Yo, I think that’s a really good idea’ and try to develop that into a poem.” Caiyhe said. “…Sometimes random thoughts in the middle of the night become one liners, and then we’ll take that one liner and try to make it into an entire poem.”

Granger said that some of the common themes that run across Mayhem Poets shows are self expression and not being afraid to be silly and serious in two back to back breaths. The Mayhem Poets were able to go from silly to serious with ease during the show letting the audience know that poetry can be funnier than at first glance.