Poetry event slams students with perspective on spoken word


Laurent Che, 22, performs his spoken word piece at the first Poetry Slam presented by The Wick Poetry Center, Black United Students and Luna Negra Magazine on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Around 20 student poets performed to a full theater in Oscar-Richie Hall.

Anthony Didion

The Wick Poetry Center hosted its first poetry slam with the help of Luna Negra Magazine and Black United Students on Thursday night.

Audience members filled The African Community Theatre in Oscar Ritchie Hall during the poetry presentations, which consisted of 20 students reciting their own written poems up on stage, followed by an open mic session for anyone in the crowd.

The participants’ poems ranged in subject and styles, with some focused on personal experiences and some about life in general.

Daisha Overstreet, student assistant at the Wick Poetry Center and one of the poets at the event, came up with the idea in an effort to help connect two different groups of poets.

“The Wick Poetry Center brings in a different kind of audience than the performance poets do,” Overstreet said. “I wanted this event to merge the two groups together.”

David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center, said he hoped the event would help broaden the interests for students to experience a lesser-known form of poetry.

“Poetry is not just something you passively hear or read,” Hassler said. “It’s something that all of us can participate in.”

Some audience members said they showed up to watch a friend perform, while others came to get a chance to perform during open mic.  Most said they just came because they love poetry.

Nashid Habeeb, a senior biotechnology major, attended the event just to listen to the student-written poems.

“I like poetry, no matter if it is the spoken form or the written form, so I came out here to see what they had to offer,” Habeeb said. “I saw a lot of energy and creativity out there.”

The overall environment of this event seemed to draw people in, said Tanner Dionne, a freshman exploratory student.

“It was a good environment for people; it was a fun time,” Dionne said. “I heard some of the poets rehearsing before, and it all sounded so good so I came out and showed my support. I thought it was really good. It had a lot of life to it.”

Jessica Jewell, the program manager for the Wick Poetry Center, said the event would not have been successful without the help of the host organizations.

“The support of Luna Negra Magazine and Black United Students was a huge help,” Jewell said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Overstreet said that the center plans to have more events like the poetry slam in the spring.

Contact Anthony Didion at [email protected].