Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slam Poets Showcase

Hey! So, sorry again that this post is so late at night. I spent the whole day celebrating Pi Day with my best friend by eating pizza and apple pie and generally acting ridiculous. (also I then spent an hour wasting time and watching the "Uptown Funk" music video a lot)

This week was very busy with schoolwork and other things, but the most exciting thing (and my official new experience) happened on Wednesday. My Slam Poets group at my school had our first showcase!

The Slam Poets: Reclaim Your Space group is a club I joined at the beginning of the school year. We write poems, then we read them to each other, then we get critique. We also work on perfecting our performance abilities, because slam poetry is poetry you perform for an audience. We've all been working on different poems all year, but recently we decided to perform our poems for an actual audience, and the showcase was this Wednesday.

As a lame first-year, I wasn't super involved in planning or organizing the event. I just sort of nodded that I agreed with stuff at the meetings and received emails informing me of changes. But I picked out a poem I wrote called "Privilege Is" and practiced it in my dorm until I had it memorized.

At 7:30 pm on Wednesday, I headed over to the Black Squirrel (one of the student hangouts on our campus) and nervously walked around. We were holding the event at 8 in the Black Squirrel, and a surprisingly big crowd was forming. (Everyone in the group had been annoying their friends and classmates to show up, in addition to advertising on Facebook). I was beginning to get nervous, even though I had the poem memorized. It was more worrying that people were going to get offended by it or something. I don't know why; I just imagine that people will get offended by things I do. And I was nervous, so.

Finally, at 8, the two co-chairs of Slam Poets came in and got onto a little makeshift stage in front of the couches and chairs that had been set up, underneath a little spotlight, with the microphone and speakers they had managed to get, and introduced everyone. They basically did all the work of organizing and they each read several poems which were really good.

After the introductions, the poems began. There were ten different performances but only seven performers (plus somebody who wasn't in the club) so some people went more than once. Each of the co-chairs read amazing poems- one of them got a dance student to do interpretative dance while she read; the other got another club member to sing in intervals between her stanzas.

The other club members read amazing poems. One girl read two poems- one about her niece, and the other about her race and religion, both of which were absurdly good. Another girl (who has too much talent, sorry, too much) read a hilarious poem called "How to Be a Writer at Sarah Lawrence" satirizing the whole artsy writing community here. Another girl (I don't want to put any of their names in case they're not cool with it) read a funny poem about writer's block, and another girl read this powerful piece about her dad and how they moved from Egypt. They were all so good, I'm not even exaggerating, you should have been there to hear those poems.

The audience was really cool too- some of my classmates were there, and a lot of the older Sarah Lawrence community. They all got super into it, snapping and calling stuff out and whatever. It was fun.

When it was my turn to read, after aforementioned way-too-talented girl, I climbed up awkwardly onto the "stage" and looked out onto the audience. It was totally different from my performance at the Open Mic- everyone was paying attention and it was more serious, and I had memorized this poem. Plus it wasn't about Harry Potter; it was about serious issues of race and privilege.

I didn't screw up at all and I liked the way I performed it. I even did the thing I had practiced where I closed my eyes when I said the line "close my eyes" and then opened them when I transitioned to "Under the bridge/ Red brake lights reflected in the water." I'm not sure if it worked or I just looked stupid, but whatever. Anyway, I think it went over well. People snapped on different lines (which is a slam poetry thing, evidently) to show that they liked them, which was nice. I'm worried that I was a little too serious, probably because I was focused on remembering my lines (a lot of the others read off pieces of paper, so they were more laid-back and cool). But whatever, I guess. It was really fun and it was a good environment to begin performing poetry in.

After the event, I headed back to my apartment, because I had had a looong day. (Two meetings with professors, one class, a freaking yoga class, a translation lecture by a cool British guy, and that slam poetry showcase.) I was exhausted. But it was good.

Anyway. Sorry again that this is so late. I'm going to try to put posts up earlier now that I'm slightly less busy for spring break. See you on Wednesday for a regular post!


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