Southwest Tennessee Community College

For Immediate Release

Date: November 6, 2008

For More Information: Brenda Rayner, 901-333-4247

Southwest Coffeehouse Rekindles the '60s

The Southwest Coffeehouse, reminiscent of the '60s – a quaint ambiance of low lights, guitar music, poetry and songs, was open for business on October 29. Thad Cockrill, associate professor of English and a faculty sponsor at Southwest Tennessee Community College, said the Southwest Coffeehouse has been running a full house since it first opened in April 2007. Coffeehouses, practically from medieval times, were traditionally places for social interaction where people would congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time. They were popular during the '60s but experienced a revival during the '90s when espresso and latte lovers began frequenting Starbucks and Internet cafes.

When Cockrill gave the open-mike call, they took to the stage one-by-one, belting out rhyme, prose, and songs. The performers were loud, vibrant, passionate, and sometimes soft and timid. They did original pieces and favorites by other authors. Bobbie Gore, an instructor at Southwest, opened the performances with excerpts from her original piece entitled the “Treacherous Sly Thief,” followed by Score, a poem from Tina Barr’s book of poetry, “The Gathering Eye.” Barr facilitates creative writing workshops at Southwest.

A performer who called himself “Dexter” [McKenzie] captivated the crowd with a powerful rap/poem called “Retrospect for Life” by Chicago rapper, Common. The delivery was strong, with an occasional clenched fist, and interludes of song flowing through his surprisingly velvet voice. “Retrospect for Life” was about life, progeny, and escape from the clutches of death.

Offered once a semester, the Southwest Coffeehouse is sponsored by Pierian, the Southwest literary society, and students in Assistant Professor Jane Harris' Basic Acting class. Harris and Lisa Coleman, associate professor of Fine Arts Languages and Literature, are the other faculty sponsors. Coffee is donated courtesy of Jessica Pilkington, manager of Starbucks on Sycamore View, and pastries are supplied by students in Coleman’s and Harris’ classes and by Jeni Chatham, president of Pierian.

For more information, contact Thad Cockrill at 901-333-4604.


Cutline: Patrons of the Southwest Coffeehouse converse and listen to the soothing guitar sounds of A.J. Keate while waiting for the performances to begin.

Cutline: The performer who calls himself “Dexter” gives a passionate rendition of “Retrospect for Life” by Chicago rapper, Common.