The lights were off. The mic was on. The room was quiet, and then it wasn’t. The words flowed from the mic. From this mic came thoughts—ideas of love, of hate, of resentment, of laughter. Thoughts that had been carefully written and expressed in a way that meant something to the person saying them. Thoughts that were presented in a way that made the audience feel. Whether or not these ideas would mean something was up in the air, but in those moments, when the poet was speaking, they had every single audience member focused on their thoughts. They had free reign over what the audience was hearing, and each of the fifteen poems shared at The Sound’s poetry slam on Saturday, Feb. 18 was outstanding.
This was my first poetry slam. I have always liked hearing poetry, and enjoyed someone else’s ideas being shared in a way that he or she felt comfortable expressing them, but I had never been to a slam before. I have to say that it was quite good. It had everything—a great emcee job courtesy of Chinyere Erondu (sophomore, theology) helped keep things both lively and interesting, and a dim atmosphere helped further the feeling of a shared experience between audience and poet. The night began with an open mic setting. While not a true open mic night, allowing those interested to walk up to the mic as they like, the seven poems shared in the first half of the poetry slam were not judged. The ideas shared in this stage ranged from being in love with someone far away to feeling hate because the poet was in love with someone of a different race; another compared consumerism as slavery to physical bondage. While none of these poems were in the competition, they were very well-thought out, and each poet displayed his or her writings with purpose and confidence.
After a brief intermission, the poetry slam transitioned to a judged portion. The poetry here was excellent. Each poem was fluid, and had a purpose. Whether it be about anger, love, racism or personal transformation, the content of poems were clearly conveyed and wonderfully articulated. When it came down to it, actually selecting a winner was tough because each poem had so much meaning to it. The way that these wordsmiths worked with their words to transform them into incredibly poignant messages was exceptional, and left me wanting more poems.
Finally, once the last poet had finished, Anna Gayle (freshman, psychology) got onstage and explained how to vote—the audience could cast their votes via text message. Each of the last seven poems shared was in the running. Despite a little technical difficulty, the votes were cast and Antone Huggins (freshman, pre-physical therapy), one of the founders of The Sound, won. Overall, it was just an enjoyable night filled with laughter, self-expression and art. I highly encourage you to attend any slams that The Sound hosts in the future, or even participate, and I guarantee you will enjoy it as much as I did.