The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Students Participate in Two Poetry Slams

On Friday, March 1 at 7 p.m., the Poetry Slam kicked off with the freshman competition and was followed by the slam open to all students.

For the freshman slam, each survey teacher selected one of his or her students to perform at lunch in front of four judges. Over a 100 students came to watch as freshman Callan Garber from Michael Smith’s class won with her poem, “I Used to Love.”

“Performance poetry is the emphasis of the slam,” English teacher Lindsey Regoli said. “Performance poetry focuses a lot on the sound, rhythm, meter and emotion.”

The school-wide slam began with a performance by Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg. English teacher Jonathan Kwan hosted the slam. The five judges included teachers Carrie Abel, Regoli, Rosenberg and two poetry enthusiasts not directly affiliated with the school. Admission was $3 per person and all the revenue was used as prize money for the winners.

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Callan was encouraged to enter by her friends and teacher who had heard her poem already in class. Despite her initial nervousness to perform, her recitation went smoothly and was well received by the audience.

“Before the Slam I had a generally negative view of it,” Garber said. “I think it’s safe to say that’s no longer true. I really took to free-verse poetry and I now see that it can be less of a lyrical style and more of a story. I’ve enjoyed writing and have been confident in myself as a writer, but the win has really boosted my confidence as a writer in general.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Kristian won Friday’s competition for best poem with her performance of “Restless.”

“Slam poetry is, at the core, a way of conveying your emotions and thoughts, and can be a really intense experience that takes a lot of guts and preparation to do,” Elizabeth said. “Finding out that you’ve succeeded in delivering that message in a way that others appreciate is one of the best feelings in the world.”

Senior Noah Schramm won best performance with his poem “Listen.” Honorable mentions were also awarded to freshman Jenny Chin, sophomore Kaitlyn Schiffhauer and senior Blaine Dzwonczyk.

“When I won it, I was very surprised because there was definitely some fierce competition with all the amazing and talented writers that we have at our school,” Noah said.

The Poetry Slam preceded Writers Week, during which writers and poets will come and speak to classes.

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