Home Campus Slam in the Smith: Students gather for slam poetry workshops

Slam in the Smith: Students gather for slam poetry workshops

In the Joseph Fielding Smith Building in room 323, students gather weekly for the Slam Poetry Workshop at 6 p.m.

Alternative music quietly played as Rachel Welker, a sophomore studying English and head of the workshop, prepared for her presentation.

Last semester while looking for activities to get her out of her apartment, Welker discovered the Slam Poetry Workshop on the school’s event calendar.

Welker was first introduced to poetry at the age of eight by her dad. Ever since then, her love for slam poetry has deepened.

According to Poets.org, slam poetry is “a poetry competition in which poets perform original work alone or in teams before an audience.”

As the workshop began, three more students joined Welker at the beginning of her presentation.

“I make a presentation every week,” Welker said. “(During) each workshop, we have a ‘Word of the Day’ and a lesson of some sort.”

Welker began the workshop by introducing “exodus” as the word of the day. Students turned to their notebooks to write a poem inspired by the word “exodus,” defined as a mass departure of people.

This week, the poets focused on imagery and stories within poems by dissecting descriptive songs and poems, such as Mausoleum by Rafferty and The Story of Us by Taylor Swift.

Students were given a couple of minutes to create their poems before reading them aloud.

While most slam poetry involves judging and scores, the Slam Poetry Workshop on campus is designed to help students, who range in skill level, improve their writing abilities and creativity.

“I write my own poems,” said Thayne Keele, a sophomore studying elementary education. “It’s not very good, but I write.”

Along with writing and sharing original poetry, students discussed some of their favorite poems such as The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe and Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

At the end of the semester, Welker will be organizing the Slam Poetry Showcase. In the Little Theater at the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center, poets and audience members will share their original poetry. The only qualifications are that it meets BYU-Idaho standards and takes under three minutes to perform. The date of the showcase will be announced at a later time.

All students, regardless of skill level, are welcome to attend the Slam Poetry Workshop every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Smith Building in room 323.

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