Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Students Prepare for Slam Poetry Contest

Jack Avilla | Guest Writer for "THE MOUNT"

Competitions are a regular occurrence in the life of most high school students, especially in a small school. One upcoming competition is the Louder than a Bomb contest that the slam poetry team is set to compete in with two preliminary rounds on March 23 and March 30.

The competition, which runs for two weeks, showcases the work of poets from over thirty schools. The competitions will take place in several locations around the city including a newer movie theater complex called “The Alamo” near the Embassy Suites in La Vista.

The groups that score the highest will continue on to the semi-finals and finals. Last year the all-rookie group made it to the semi-finals, which they hope to repeat this year, but at least for this team it is about more than the competition. 

Junior Nash Kelly practices performing his piece while the rest
of the team listens critically, preparing to give him feedback.
Team members have been meeting since mid-October
“I would love if the team made it to the semi-finals again this year,” proctor Gina Fosco said. “But mostly I hope our poets are inspired by what they hear, and have come to know their own truth a little more.”

For one poet, sophomore Joey Recker, poetry has had a profound effect on his experience as a whole.

“It is truly an accessible art form for anyone that has a cool culture surrounding it,” Recker said. One of the unique things for club member is they have the opportunity to attend poetry events outside of the club meetings and the competitions.

Recently Recker attended a slam competition at the Omaha Healing Arts Center in the old market. The event is hosted on the first Saturday of every month. At these slams anyone can come and read their poetry in an open mic time period. Following the open mic the slam competition begins. The slam itself is very competitive.

The scoring system is unique because it is solely based on audience member’s reactions. At the beginning of a slam, the master of ceremonies (M.C.) asks for volunteers who have no connection to the poets reading. They are then given a whiteboard to write their score for the poem on a ten point scale.

“I had the opportunity to be a judge and I got to experience the love and hate from the crowd as I gave my scores,” sophomore Jack Blaser said.

The scoring and response to the scoring is another way attendees of the slam get to express themselves. Everyone said what was on their mind at the time. Everyone was themselves. The atmosphere was a very vital part of the slam.

“The people there were very diverse with a variety of different opinions and thoughts,which I liked,” said sophomore Jacob Idra, who also attended the event.

Practice in the Park
For some people, public speaking is not an easy task. Especially when the poem you are reading is very personal to you which impressed Idra.

“The amount of effort and courage to go and talk in front of a crowd like Joey did, with the comfort that he had, shows what kind of guy he is,” Idra said.

It is exactly this courage that makes a poetry slam such a unique event. According to Recker, the poetry is not just for entertainment, “it’s inspiring and has a lot of substance.”