Poetry Slam Wows School

Few clubs have been around as long as the SLAM Poetry Club, and few have made such an impression. Clubs on campus tend to come and go each year, especially those associated with more specific interests. However, for the past 10 years the SLAM Poetry Club has continued to provide students with the opportunity to express themselves creatively and to perform their art in front of an audience.
The club’s 10th annual competition was held on Thursday, March 1 and featured many new faces and a variety of pressing topics.
As a prelude to the performance, the club held a poetry slam at a BSU meeting (video can be found online at www.lahstalon.org). Club Co-president senior Milena Lacayo said the poets had a great audience and enthusiastic support. This pre-performance set the stage for the real competition, which took place two weeks later.
As the 10th annual performance, the Slam competition opened off with a new addition: the jazz trio of junior Kevin Coelho and seniors Ryan Rishi and Harry Simmons greeted audiences with smooth jazz as the audience filed into the auditorium.
Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg, the adviser of the SLAM Poetry Club, kicked off the competition with an introductory poem of his own, an annual tradition for the competition. An amateur poet, Rosenberg said that the diversity and honesty of expression are what make the club special and unique every year.
The poems began quickly, and with over 25 poets performing, the competition was able to hit on every topic imaginable.
“It was really cool to be able to stand up on stage and give a performance that reaches a large number of people,” junior Blaine Dzwonczyk (left) said.
Rosenberg said that every year, he is moved by a few well written and emotional poems that make the SLAM unique every year. And this year did not fail to disappoint. Highlights included the Best Poem award-winning poem “Bones,” by junior Libbie Katsev, and the oration of Co-president senior Rashmeen Kaur’s poem on the mistreatment of undocumented immigrants, which won Best Performance.
One of the most  celebrated aspects of the SLAM Poetry Competition is its wide range of styles, spanning from goofy to serious, and touching on topics including love, political unrest and sexual harassment.
The club continues to stay strong with a large student base and enthusiastic members. Milena said that what makes the SLAM Poetry Club so lasting is that topics are always contemporary and the club constantly addresses changing styles and topics.
“It’s always fresh,” Milena said.
In addition, the support that this group of passionate poets provides emphasizes an organization where feedback and helpful tips are encouraged.
Milena appreciates “the fact that there’s a base that can hear you and help you write.”
Nearly every week, dedicated members of the group come together to review each other’s poems and receive feedback on their own work. Although the process can often be difficult, the comments and sessions of the SLAM Poetry Club are a huge part of what makes the competition so successful every year.
“The club has critiqued my poems so many times, and it’s like stabbing you in the heart,” Rashmeen said. “But in the end it ends up like this, and I’m really grateful for it.”