Ryan Chartrand

Champion slam poet Steve Connell brings his critically acclaimed, powerful and energetic performance to Philips Hall tonight at 7:30, courtesy of Cal Poly’s Another Type of Groove (ATOG).

ATOG will show off some of the nation’s top poets to Cal Poly, offering the audience a chance to share their own poetry on the first Thursday of every month.

Connell, the 2003 New World Series National Poetry Slam Champion, returns to Cal Poly after performing in a slam during last year’s Week of Welcome.

He has also appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” Showtime’s “Crossover,” MTV’s World AIDS Festival and BET’s “Lyric Caf‚.”

ATOG student coordinator Skylar Olsen said Connell’s performances are “definitely engaging,” inspiring audience feedback.

Connell has a lot of fans in Cal Poly’s poet community, Olsen said.

Students and community members are invited to share their poetry before and during the break in Connell’s performance.

The open mic session attracts everyone from engineering to English majors, from veteran to new poets, Olsen said.

“One of the coolest things about Another Type of Groove is we get all different kinds of people,” she said.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Center, ATOG was founded with the idea to “create an open space for dialogue and interchange of ideas,” according to the program’s Web site.

While some students share poems that deal with controversial issues and may be shocking, others are more sweet-tempered.

Olsen calls Another Type of Groove a “true home space” with the mantra, respect the mic and respect the poet. “The audience is very welcoming,” she added.

Approximately 250 people attended ATOG’s March 1 show, when Connell’s artistic partner Sekou (tha misfit) performed, said Multicultural Programs and Services Coordinator Renoda Campbell.

A similar turnout is expected.

Anyone interested in sharing their poetry at the show will need to sign up before the performance begins, or, Olsen said, “just find someone with a clipboard.”

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