The Poetry Room Presents: Me & My Friends, featuring Neil Hilborn


According to Lansing Poet Laureate Masaki Takahashi, the Poetry Room, a series of open-mic poetry readings and other poetry-related events in Lansing, is “a space for people to tell their story as they hope to have it told.” The Poetry Room has invited Neil Hilborn, known nationally for his poem “OCD,” which has received more than 75 million views online, to share his story 7 p.m. Friday (April 5) at Grewal Hall at 224. The event will open with readings by seven area poets, including Takahashi, allowing attendees to “immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of local talent,” Takahashi said.

Hilborn’s poetry often details his experiences and struggles with mental illness, which will be a theme for the evening.

This event promises to be a poignant exploration of mental health and human emotion through the medium of poetry,” Takahashi said. “The local poets that I picked, they have very unique stories to tell that should be heard. And they really go well with what I think Neal represents — those stories and emotions that people don’t talk about openly.”

But Takahashi noted that the evening will offer moments of levity as well.

“Hilborn’s unique ability to blend vulnerability with humor leaves audiences deeply moved, often eliciting both tears and laughter,” he said. “It’s a very great place to be because it’s still very entertaining, even though it’s emotional.”

DJ Metro Melik will provide the musical backdrop for the evening, spinning an eclectic mix of songs between sets to “set the stage for an atmosphere of creativity, connection and community,” Takahashi said.

Overall, Takahashi is most excited to show those who aren’t as immersed in the poetry world how “accessible and exciting” the art form can be.

“They’re definitely going to have a good time. I hope they learn. They’re going to laugh, they’re going to cry. The art of listening is really learning to be a better human and being more compassionate,” he said.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at



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