In the 10th annual Poetry Slam Competition, poets from all backgrounds and ages joined together to perform for a crowded audience of LAHS students. While the milestone competition did include many new additions, including a jazz trio, poets still delivered the trademark originality and honesty of expression of slam poetry that has made the performance a success for the past decade.
The jazz group of junior Kevin Coelho (keyboard), senior Ryan Rishi (drums) and senior Harry Simmons (guitar) opened the performance with smooth jazz, marking the first time that poets were joined by musicians at the Slam competition.
Over 25 poets performed, discussing topics that ranged from love to immigration to social expectations. While performance styles ranged from cynical to aggressive to quietly dramatic, all poets brought up issues relevant to the audience of students.
“Every single time I come on stage I’m always nervous, but I always try my best to choose a topic that people need to hear about,” senior Rashmeen Kaur said.
Seven awards were named in total, five performers were given honorable mentions, and two were named as top award-winners. Rashmeen won the top award for “Best Performance,” and junior Libbie Katsev won the award for “Best Poem.”
Freshman Bronwyn Thomas received honorable mention as “Newcomer,” senior Omri Fried received honorable mention for “Wordplay,” senior Milena Lacayo received honorable mention for “Poetic Device,” senior Johnny Henriquez received honorable mention for “Performance” and senior Alyssa Waln received honorable mention for “Overall Poem.”
However, according to Rashmeen, the purpose of the competition goes far beyond the awards given out.
“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.”
A video of the event will be added shortly.
[Photos by Ciera Pasturel]