Held every Thursday of winter quarter at Riverpoint’s Phase 1 Auditorium, Naked Lunch Break features readings from notable local writers and an open mic session for anyone who is feeling gutsy.
Naked Lunch Break is organized and hosted by Riverpoint librarian Jonathan Potter.
“I started the series last year as a fun way to build community at Riverpoint and to provide a forum for creative talent on campus and elsewhere in the area,” Potter said.
“The library already serves as a hub where disparate elements of the campus community converge, so an open mic is a natural outgrowth of that spirit.”
Those who choose to sign up share up to three minutes of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
“It’s a lot of fun, a nice change of pace in the middle of your day, a good way to honor the literary efforts of others in the community, a good place to dust off those poems you’ve been laboring away in obscurity on and bare your soul—which can be therapeutic,” Potter said.
The events usually feature one acclaimed writer each week. Potter said this year he wanted to focus more on writers from the creative writing program at Riverpoint.
Poets Jonathan Johnson and Christopher Howell shared some of their poems earlier this month.
“On Feb. 14, Rachel Toor will be the featured reader. Rachel teaches in the creative nonfiction track and is well known for her writing on topics ranging from academic life to long-distance running,” Potter said. “Greg Spatz and Sam Ligon, both of them amazing fiction writers, will be the featured readers on Feb. 21 and 28 respectively.”
Spokane poet and 2005 EWU graduate Travis Naught has been reading at Naked Lunch Break’s open mic since it first started last year.
“John Potter is a good friend of mine; he wrote a blurb on the back of my book, ‘The Virgin Journals,’” Naught said. “I like to support friends and their endeavors, and it gives me a chance to practice my reading.”
Naught recited a poem titled “Ice Queen” at the Naked Lunch Break held Jan. 24.
“I actually have several readings coming up that I have to perform 19 minutes of poetry at. ‘Ice Queen’ is going to be one of the poems that I perform each day, so I needed to practice it before I had to read it,” he said.
Naught said he frequently reads at events around Spokane, and the support for literature and poetry in the area is unrivaled.
“Spokane’s writing community is probably the best one that I am aware of right now,” he said. “We’ve got performance poets in Spokane that travel to Bellingham, Seattle, Portland and Boise, and we have more of a thriving community of writers in Spokane than those places—a more supportive, active community in the public eye.”
When asked if the title of the event was directly related to William Burroughs’s book “Naked Lunch,” Potter said not directly, “other than the fact that it’s a provocative title that I thought would grab people’s attention. It’s a lunch break activity, so the title works nicely.
“The word naked also works as a metaphor for what you do at an open mic,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to get up on stage and expose yourself that way, but it can be a lot of fun, too.”