Comics & Classifieds Editor
The fifth annual poetry slam began on Tuesday, April 30 when seven prospective poets performed their original poems in the San Marcos library at lunch. The poems could be any theme and any style, as long as they were shorter than three minutes long and were not accompanied by props, costumes or music. The students chosen to participate in the semi-finals had to use four words from a list of 15 in their second poem. Four finalists were selected from the seven contestants. They had 24 hours to write a poem with the theme freedom to perform on Thursday, May 1. The judges, Gayle Eidelson, Perie Longo, and Vicki Hanes scored the performances on a scale of one to ten based on their stage presence and passion as well as the poem. It was a close call and a tough decision, but Kiki Silva’s original poem, A Prisoner’s Freedom, plus her outstanding delivery, netted her first place. In second place was Sarah Peka, followed by Jose Reveles in third place and finally Cole Kurth in fourth place.
“Audience contact was the thing that separated Kiki out from the rest,” said local poet Perie Longo, one of the three judges for the contest. “Her poem was very strong, and very original. She made eye contac witht the audience a lot. Sarah did the same thing but Kiki’s poem was a lot stronger where the theme was concerned. It was just wonderful and engaged the audience.”
Silva, a junior at San Marcos, has been writing poetry since junior high. She was inspired by her good friend, a gifted poet. She claims that if was not for her friend’s influence many years ago she would not have even participated in the slam. Silva stopped writing in high school, but when the poetry slam came up this year, she decided to go for it.
“I thought what the heck I’ll give it a shot,” said Silva, “and it turned out better than I would have ever expected.”
“I think it is absolutely wonderful that San Marcos gives students this opportunity,” said Longo. “I have been writing poetry since I was eight years old and I know the importance of poetry in our culture in so many different ways: from rap to classical writing. It is a very vital part of our humanity and it is from the soul and how we can understand each other as human beings.”
When Ms. Murdoch, who has hosted the poetry slam for the past five years, announced her victory, she was completely surprised.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting to win,” she said.
“The most important thing to consider when writing a slam poem is to feel something strong in the words you are molding,” Silva advised. “If you do that, it will naturally show in your performance.”
Ms. Murdoch thought this year was fantastic. She enjoys poetry slams because they attract a very diverse group of students. They also bring people into the library who would not normally be there. Murdoch strongly encourages students to sign up for the poetry slam next year.
“It is a great experience and gives students a chance to express themselves, do something a little different,” said Murdoch. “It’s such a supportive atmosphere, and no one is going to heckle them or throw fruit.”
Anyone can participate in the poetry slam, and everyone with the courage to show off their writing ability should sign up.