Open Mic and Poetry Slam

by Nabiha Asim

Stories and ideas, rhymes and stanzas, language and literature overtook the CoalBen atmosphere at the packed Open Mic and Poetry Slam on the night of April 14.

First part of the night was open mic and the last part was reserved for the slam. The slam went for two rounds with five advancing onto the final round and finally ending with three winners. The third place winner was sophomore DeAnna Pettis, second place was freshman Kija Cammock and first place went to junior Desmond Washington.

For first place winner, Desmond Washington, poetry means more than just words as he uses it for just about anything.

“My final poem was about using poetry to express opinion with being politically correct. The poetry book Howl, and Other Poems [as well as] my experience in Chicago and the death of my friends inspired me,” said Washington.

Washington has participated in slams before, being more active during high school. For others who hadn’t participated in a poetry slam before are just as passionate about poetry. Pettis was able to come out for the first time on Thursday due to her love for slam poetry. After watching several videos of slam poetry, Pettis decided it was her turn to give it a try. Despite it being Pettis’ first time competing in a poetry slam, she was able to take third place sharing her pieces about love and princesses.

“All girls feel like they’re princesses. We’re taught that when we’re growing up that you should be a princess and let a guy come and save you but I don’t want someone to save me. I want to be able to do it myself and be able to live on my own: job for myself, be successful on my own; I don’t want to have to stand by somebody else,” stated Pettis.

Similarly, it was second place winner, Kija Cammock’s first time participating in a poetry slam as well. She was complimented by many for her confidence up on stage, but even after the encouragement she still couldn’t believe she did so well for herself as her hand and voice shook during her performance. Cammock received encouragement to come out to the slam from her friends who know she writes poetry and often shares with them her pieces. Her poems about reflection and inspiration had her place second.

“The first one was more a reflection of my life and like some of the struggles I went through with my mom and not having a father figure there actively in my life. The second was kind of just more to inspire the crowd. No one is handed a perfect deck of cards and no one’s life is perfect and everybody goes through stuff and the only thing you can do is make the best of it, “said Cammock.

Overall, poetry was used to convey dialogues about relationships, the black community, women, politics and even a song performance about revolutions during open mic.