Poetry slam judges were told last night to only give a score of 10 to poems that changed their life. Junior Judith Suffrard, who took home first place for her poem "Happy Anniversary," was the only slammer in the competition to receive this score. Not only that, but the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
The focus of Suffrard's poem was that black people are still not free. Junior Kieran Binney, the second place winner, spoke about how healing isn’t linear and how the process does not mean you’re broken. Sophomore Kara Rydelek took home third place for her poem, which was a roast of all the annoying things people do without realizing how annoying they are actually being.
Overall, this year’s fall slammers included a mix of one freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Other slammers covered topics such as homophobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), body image, racism and sexuality. The GHH Atrium not only reverberated the slammers’ words but the audience’s snaps and cheers of agreement.
There were two rounds in the slam. The first round consisted of 14 slammers who all read original poems. The top five scorers of the first round advanced to the second round and performed an additional poem, to determine the top three winners.
Freshman Jordan Sweenie’s “Ode to the Word Lesbian” spoke to how she grew up hearing the word lesbian in a negative manner, associated with violence. She went on to talk about how she suppressed her feelings until she couldn’t any longer and that all she had been taught was not true.
Another captivating performance was delivered by sophomore Trinity Potter, who addressed the awareness of body image. She talked always hearing “we don’t have your size” from stores and how the “constriction of society is sewn in the fabric.”
The university’s poetry slam originated in 2009 and was hosted this year by senior Leah Brodsky. Judges for the night included students, faculty and staff. For students, the panel included freshman Lila Saye, sophomore Noelle Craveiro and seniors Pamela Rochette and Sydney Dawson. Faculty and staff on the panel included Assistant Professor of Writing Studies, Rhetoric and Composition Christian Pulver, philosophy professor Christina Rawls and Interim Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Initiatives Takara Roderick.
There was also one group poem performed during the night, by a group entitled "Girl Gang." This poem focused on the destruction of the Earth through global warming.
When the slam finally came to an end, there was a standing ovation for all. Slammers will return again for the spring semester. It is definitely an event worth attending.