Writing Club holds second successful poetry slam with Class of 2017
American High School’s Writing Club joined with Class of 2017 to hold their second annual poetry slam, also known as Voices, on April 17, 2015 in the multi-purpose room. It was one of the club’s main fundraisers of the school year. The participants were able to choose any kind of poems to perform, from serious to funny to sarcastic.
“The most important reason that we hold the poetry slam is that it’s a chance for writers to come together and express themselves alongside other creators and poets,” club president Disha Dubey (12) said. “People spoke about everything from psychological conflicts to discrimination to something as hilarious as pizza bagels and dislike of homework. That space of expression is really valuable, because it’s a rare opportunity to speak freely about anything and everything, and to be heard.”
Alongside with the poetry performances, the A-team of Glee Club was invited to perform in the event. They performed two songs, “The Great Pretender” and “At The Top.”
“We saw that as a great opportunity to gain experience, and also for us to showcase our talents to an audience that we do not always have,” Glee Club president Chloris Li (12) said. “I think our performance went very well and the hosts were very kind and welcoming. We definitely all had a great time there, exploring a different form of art.”
Junior Jenny Chiu was one of the few first-time performers. Originally she did not plan to participate in the event, but eventually changed her mind with her friend’s persuasion.
“I performed a piece called ‘Icarus Fell’,” Chiu said. “It details another viewpoint of what it means to be cynical, and I actually wrote three drafts of the poem before deciding my final piece. I didn’t do anything like this before, so it was an interesting experience.”
The winner of the night was senior Cris Lopez, who performed “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody Slam Poem.”
“Most of my experience for performing comes from church, small skits, musicals, plays and such,” Lopez said. “I really enjoy the stage, but I prefer things were I don’t make myself seriously. Large scale productions frighten me because everything is so serious, and there is no room for ad-libbing. I prefer being able to add my own creative spin on things.”
Despite having an overall winner, some audience members also related with other performers’ poems.
“My personal favorite poem was performed by Megan Chan,” Dubey said. “It was about anxiety, and it was really powerfully performed. It was touching and personal, and judging by the frequent snaps by the audience, incredibly relatable. Poetry like that is why I love that we put on a poetry slam. It allows us to come together and be creative in a community, and share a part of ourselves that we wouldn’t ordinarily share.”
Speaking on stage can be nerve-wracking, and despite some mistakes, Lopez did not let that interfere with his performance.
“It’s okay to be nervous,” Lopez said. “I was really nervous during my performance because I didn’t fully memorize a couple of lines in my poem. If stuff like that happens, just improvise because it’s not the end of the world.”