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The Blue & Gray Press | May 21, 2019

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Creative Writing Club kicks off annual poetry slam tradition

Creative Writing Club kicks off annual poetry slam tradition


Staff Writer

The UMW Creative Writing Club has started a new annual tradition, the Poetry Slam. Student poets were invited to share a poem of their choosing in a poetry slam competition in the Digital Auditorium last Saturday.

A poetry slam is a competition in which poets perform spoken word poetry. The poetry can have a variety of themes but must be spoken word. Judges award points to each poem based on how much they like it.

During the slam, audience members were encouraged to snap or stomp their feet when they liked specific lines within a poem. The audience’s response to the poems would also factor into the judge’s critique of the poems.

Senior English: creative writing major Olivia Lehman said, “I think it was a really successful event; we had a really good turnout of students as well. As a senior and the club leader I am excited to see the influence this event will have on the writing community at UMW.”

President of the Creative Writing Club, Lehman acted as the “sacrificial poet”, which is the poet who has to go first. They usually serve as a way for the judges of the poetry slam to get a feel for judging.

The poem that Lehman preformed was titled “When the Trumps Leave Us,” and it was based on a poem by Anthony McPherson titled, “When the Obamas Leave Us.” It was politically driven and it focused on Lehman’s negative feelings toward President Trump. The audience connected a lot with the poem, and people snapped during lines that resonated with them. At the end, the poem received many claps and cheers of approval.

The poems at the poetry slam covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from politics to sexuality to the experiences of African American women in society. Because of these topics, many of the performances were very emotionally driven.

Senior art history major Caitlin Kelly said, “I really liked how much diversity there was among the poets. There were people of different races, sexualities and genders so it wasn’t just cis white people. That’s a really positive change.”

Senior communication and digital studies major Meredith Jennings said, “It was a very good event. Everyone really showed off their creative sides. It was fun because slam poetry is so different from regular poetry and it is not something that I get to experience very often. I really enjoyed getting to snap my fingers at each line that resonated with me. Spoken word poetry just really has this raw emotional side to it that I love to listen to.”

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