Poetry slam and open mic gives students a voice

Julia Kado '24 and Cecile Walsh '24

February 8 Poetry Slam winners pose for a photo, pictured left to right are Camille O’Mara ’23, Gabe Wagstaff ’23, Brendan Downey ’23, Matt Grobbel ’23, Cecile Walsh ’24, Kale Ligon ’23, Avery Barbour ’23, Julia Kado ’24, Kaden Boismer-Buhr ’24 and Jet Miller ’24. Photo courtesy of Harry Campion.

On February 8th, community members gathered for an open mic and slam poetry event at Ewald Library. All were welcome, and though there wasn’t a bustling crowd, many students and non-students alike came to watch and perform poetry. Kicking off the event, the open mic was where participants could read poems without them being scored. It was mainly used as an opportunity for people to read poems for an audience and get themselves out there. Following the open mic, there was a poetry slam, where ten poets slammed the pieces they were most proud of, and were instantly given a score from five judges.

Slam team director, AP Literature and creative writing teacher Harry Campion found the judges to be one of the most integral parts of the slam, many of them being former poetry slammers themselves, having some knowledge under their belt and knowledge of slam from previous experience.

“It was great having some of my former slammers come back and be judges,that made the scoring really tight. They were very into what [the slammers] were saying. Instead of just being totally blown away by how skilled [the slammers] were,” Campion said. “They were a little bit critical. I think that’s important to have.” The environment was appealing to everyone involved, filled with inclusivity and a general sense of welcome.

“The people who were there were extremely enthusiastic,” Campion said. “It was great to have some members of the community there as well. That’s always a treat.”

For slammer Kaden Boismer-Buhr ’24, the friendly environment and nice atmosphere eased nerves that could have possibly sprouted.

“I didn’t get very nervous or anything,” Boismer-Buhr said.

Audience members were also able to sit in and witness the performances if they didn’t want to directly participate. For Brody Fitzgibbon ’25, a poet who chose to spectate the event, it was moving to see people put themselves out there in a unconventional way.

“I was inspired, it was really cool and really nice to see people I’m friends with share themselves through poetry,” Fitzgibbon said.

According to Fitzgibbon, he now understands more about people he didn’t know as closely before. “When I don’t know them, I get to know them through poetry, and it’s really interesting to hear [the story of] someone I don’t know, it’s neat,” Fitzgibbon said.