Alchemy Speaks offers creative outlet for students, community

Michael Bragg

Alchemy Coffee – located inside Bead Box on King Street – sets up for an open mic spoken word, featuring original poems, short stories or lyrics for a couple of hours every Wednesday.

The official name if the event is Alchemy Speaks, but the same artists have performed at Local Lion, Char and other Boone venues. Though a couple of the frontrunners at Alchemy Speaks belong to the Lyric club on campus, it is not officially affiliated with a club or organization.

“It’s steadily grown, people just come out of the woodwork,” said Bear Brown, an Appalachian alumnus who started this event about a year and a half ago.  “I think my favorite thing about it is you get to know things about people that you already know that you never would have known.”

Alchemy offers up the venue free every Wednesday night.  The shop is supportive and sometimes the staff even recite a few works of their own.

“I request to work every Wednesday night because of this,” said Kat Chaffin, an Appalachian alumna and barista at Alchemy.  “It’s a whole scene they’ve created, not just with alchemy speaks but the haiku slam and lyric stuff as well.”

For many participants, this is not only a community-building event. It is a lifestyle.

“Spoken word is meant to be heard,” junior international criminal justice major Angel Cordero said. “Written poetry is elitist. Most of humanity is illiterate. The enlightenment happened for a very small amount of people and a very privileged amount of people. The greater enlightenment has yet to happen and that’s what spoken word is about.”

Brown said getting someone to get up and express themself at one of these events is what it’s “all about.”

“My passion for it is getting to kind of bring people out of the woodwork who wouldn’t necessarily share their poetry, giving them an opportunity to share their art to people and kinda be open with it,” he said. 

Brown and Cordero are talking about creating a High Country Slam Team sometime this year, which would bring a competitive aspect to the event.

Alchemy Speaks is located in the coffee shop behind Bead Box every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Haiku Slam takes place next Tuesday night at Char. For updates on Local Lion’s open mic events, visit

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Intern A&E Reporter