Poetry Slam Lives On!


Photo Courtesy of Naomi Orozco

Catherine Ruiz reads off her second poem. Behind her are the scores of both her and fellow poet, Aiden Miller.

A girl sat in her chair, reading over in her head, the few words of poetry written on the google doc. Feeling every word, she wondered how someone could feel so much after reading so little. She had gone to The Poetry Slam at her school in the past, but it had been awhile. She remembered one particular performer, who had written a poem in a span of 7 minutes. In less than 2 minutes, he managed to inspire her. Through his performance, each word of the poem was able to connect to the audience, leaving those who listened, feeling something they otherwise wouldn’t.

Once a month Mrs. Holtz, one of the Liberians and Mrs.Fredo the other Liberian host the poetry slam at Silver Creek High School in the library. The Poetry slam was first started by Philip Goerner, the past librarian. The event aims to allow students the opportunity to connect with others, through the art of poetry.

To start you’re asked if you would like to do one of three options, 1. Just watch and listen 2. Perform 3. Be a judge.

To judge the attendee is handed a white board and marker, at the end of each performance the judges rank the poem from 1-10. Mrs. Holtz or Mrs. Fredo will then add up each vote. The highest two scorers will then perform another poem. At the end whoever receives the highest amount of points wins. Just before lunch ends all who attend are offered a gift from either Mrs. Holtz or Mrs. Fredo. If you perform you get to pick three items. The event takes place every month on a Thursday between the 3rd or 4th week of the month, during first and second lunch.

Kristin Holtz, former Silver Creek English teacher, enters her first year of hosting the slam.

“Poetry Slam is a long standing tradition at Silver Creek,” Holtz stated. Poetry slam has been hosted since the earlier years of the school. Students who want to express themselves have a venue to do so.

During the week of the event, people can find advertisements of the slam throughout the halls. As a reminder to come, whether it be past participants or new attendees, all are welcome.

Silver Creek vice principal and former English teacher, Eric Ottem explains, “Poetry is a long dying art,”said Eric Ottem. Giving readers this idea that anything beautiful can be created at your hand, though this may be the case, people often forget this. He is able to further connect this idea of art by giving us an example of how it is in our everyday life.

“You’re writing your words, You get to rewrite them and you get to think about it. It’s not like a basketball game, oh I just wanna edit that one little move. Whereas you get to, that is one of the beautiful things about writing.”

Some people regret decisions they’ve made, often dreading over something they wish they could change. Though this is not something that can be fixed, through the art of writing poetry, people are able to go back and rewrite what they want. Poetry Slam offers young student writers the ability to potentially connect with others, whether they know it or not.

What inspired Senior Aidan Miller, a poet who has regularly attended the event for the past 3 years is “this idea anybody can do it.”

Mr. Ottem explains, “most of the time, it’s the writer, your butt in a chair, thinking your thoughts and you imagine an audience. That’s the one time where you get to hear your words landing on an audience.”

He describes the process one goes through when writing. Whether it be a clean sheet of paper or something you start building onto again. He is able to summarize what happens during this process.

People can feel the energy shift in a room when something happens, whether it is exciting or the exact opposite. It’s a universal language everyone knows. When people come and listen to the poetry being read, that positive energy is reflected through the room. Not by the walls, but through the people who bounce off energy like mirrors.

Aidan describes poetry as “the idea of being able to convey a powerful emotion to somebody very quickly, as opposed to a story you have to have an intro, a climate, all that kind of stuff with a poem it’s just there.”

This allows people to get an understanding of how poetry can be impactful on those who listen, regardless if the attendee performs or not.

Poetry slam has made an impact on the students in a way of being able to express their creative outlet, while being vulnerable. That’s all people really want, they want to feel heard, and connected. Ottem says, “you gotta take a little bit of risk, to get a little deeper connection.”