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The Blue & Gray Press | October 18, 2018

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Alumna shares poetry with campus

Natalie-IllumFORWEB

By CARLY DAVIS

On Thursday night, University of Mary Washington graduate Natalie Illum performed her original slam poetry. The event, hosted by Students with Disabilities And Their Allies and co-sponsored by People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities (PRISM), also included student works by senior English major Haley Campbell, Moses Carmagesh and senior Tekla Taylor.

Illum began performing slam poetry as an outlet, finding that turning her feelings and experiences into art was a positive route.
On Thursday, she read a selection of her poems, many of which are autobiographical. Among Illum’s poems were works such as “My Mother’s Prayer,” “Blueprint,” “Profile,” “Incision,” “Motorcycle” and others.

“Sometimes the hardest subjects, the vulnerable ones, are the ones we should be writing about,” Illum said as she continued into her poem, “What the Sandy Hook Gun Said.”

When choosing poems to read at the event, Illum looked for poems that would resonate with the crowd.
“I tried to do the best I could for the audience,” she said.

Charlotte Owens, a sophomore psychology and women and gender studies major, came to the event as a member of PRISM. “I forgot she needed crutches,” said Owens.

“It was really intriguing,” said Britta Grim, a sophomore psychology major. “I came into it blind, I didn’t know what to expect. But it puts a spin to disability and other aspects of life. It changes how you perceive disability after you hear her performance.”

The event concluded with a question and answer session, where the audience and Illum interacted for an additional half hour. There was merchandise for sale and Illum was more than happy to sign autographs.

In the place where she developed her voice, Illum was honored to come back.