Word player

Reed Rickmers

photo by shannon rooney

Reed Rickmers started writing poetry when he was just 5 years old. Now, the 28-year-old facilitates and promotes a performance event called Word Play, created a few months back by Café Flo owner Mark Watts. Word Play takes place twice a month at Café Flo. On March 1, Rickmers was featured at Pleasant Valley High School’s Poetry Alive, an event featuring poetry, music and dance performances. Contact Rickmers at reedrick21@gmail.com for info about Word Play.

What is Word Play all about?

Word Play is about accessibility to anyone. I want anybody who’s interested in performing to feel comfortable and safe … I want people to be able to come and perform and to witness poetry as well. I try to make it available to anyone who wants to get up [and perform]. I just want people to treat it with respect. I have no limits as to who gets up there and participates, as long as it’s done out of respect.

How did the first Word Play go?

The first one was great because it was a young crowd combined with some of the older crowd, and was a great atmosphere of acceptance. It’s about the words, not any specific form of poetry, and it doesn’t have to be poetry. It could be a story or comedy. It’s just about you getting up and expressing words that you enjoy and love.

What’s your background with words?

When I was 18, I first performed a poem at Has Beans’ open mic. Then I steadily got involved with the slam scene around here. I moved to Humboldt when I was 20 to attend Humboldt State, and I became involved with the slam team there. We would host the traveling top slam poets, so I got to meet some really successful poets. Through that, I became involved in the production aspect too. I got to be involved in this wonderful community of poets who all supported one another.

What does it cost to attend this event?

A distinction I’d like to make is that [Word Play] is not about making money. I am charging only a dollar, for the café. I personally make nothing, and I’m not interested in money. I just want people to come. It’s really about the community aspect. That’s my dream for it at least. I think that’s an important distinction, because I’ve heard that many people feel they shouldn’t have to pay to hear poetry or to perform poetry.