The Elliott University Center held a lively audience on January 18 from 7 PM to 9 PM. UNCG’s open mic and slam poetry event began with a check-in for UNCG students, grabbing a raffle ticket for prizes during the show, and a free and warm winter hat from the Activities and Campus Events student committee. DJ Roxci played a variety of songs from old school to new school r&b and rap. She even used her creativity to play songs related to the plentiful lines in the talented poets work.
The co-hosts for the evening included a NC A&T and UNCG students, who kept the audience energetic throughout the entirety of the show. A great incentive was the raffle, where students became excited to win a pair of Beats by Dre.
The slam poetry contest included six poets with three rounds. After each round, students were able to vote for their favorite. Each poet had three minutes to deliver their poem using their cellphone, journal, or by memory. An elimination followed as the favorites were picked and the final round contained four poets.
The audience was very enthusiastic, snapping and clapping to cheer on those who had the courage to get on stage and share a piece of their work that was very important to them. Whether these poets were experienced with performing slam poetry events in various other locations, or were beginning for the first time, they all did a fantastic job, and the crowd displayed that. A couple of the topics shared were gaining the strength to overcome depression, to admiration for a grandmother.
As the third round concluded, students opened up their cellphones to vote for their favorite. After a quick music intermission and a vibrant Instagram video to show the fun during the event, the remaining four contestants came to the stage. The third place poet received an Amazon Echo plus speaker, the second place winner claimed a Roku TV, and the first place winner obtained an iPad mini. It was a fulfilling night regardless of whether everyone went home with a new electronic or not. The important moment was that each student of various backgrounds and lifestyles were able to show off the creativity that they had spent time to produce. It is evident that each student will continue to evolve and do great things with their work in the future.
With time left after the poetry slam, students were able to participate in the open mic portion of the event. Those students shared original music and powerful performances of their own poems. A prominent topic discussed was love, ranging from love for someone else to love for a bed to sleep in at night.
Though the event was a success, what is the significance behind a poetry slam? A poetry slam is a competition in which poets perform spoken word poetry. These competitions began in Chicago in 1984, and credit for the creation of them goes to Marc Smith. He helped create the poetry slam at Get Me High Lounge in Chi-town that same year. A panel of judges would decide the fate of the performers, giving each poet a rating from 0 to 10. In 1990, the first National Poetry Slam took place at Fort Mason, San Francisco. Teams from Chicago and San Francisco participated alongside a poet from New York. The popularity of poetry slams was on a rise, allowing some poets to make full-time careers through performances and competitions in the U.S and internationally. As of today, there are poetry slams in various countries, creating even more of a platform for creatives.
Any current UNCG student who wants support as they create work that makes them happy, should look into UNCG Articulate. This on-campus organization is for poets and artists right on campus. If you have always written in an open and artistic manner, then this may be the group for you. Those willing to try something new should decide to invest their time into an organization like this. Who knows, maybe your participation could lead to competing at poetry slams or performing wherever your artistic work will lead you.