2014 Poetry Slam a Huge Hit

Alison Kuznitz ‘15 
EE Sr. Opinions Editor

Kevin Pacelli ‘14
EE Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Friday May 16, THS students and people from throughout the Trumbull community filed into the auditorium to watch contestants of all grade levels pour out their emotions in the form of poetry. This year’s Poetry Slam marked the third annual event of its kind at Trumbull High School, and it certainly did not disappoint.

The Slam may have been a one-night ordeal, but preparation for the evening began months prior to the event. The poetry class students were primarily responsible for all aspects of the event, including creating promotional videos, choosing a theme, and advertising for the slam.
“They’re really involved in all of it. I think we want to make them take the responsibility so it feels like theirs…It’s a responsibility that they have to take on to really make it run smoothly,” said Mrs. Balter, one of the Poetry teachers at THS. “The event is actually now part of the curriculum where [the students] are part of the planning, the marketing, the facilitating of the entire event.”

Throughout the entire night of the slam, the audience constantly praised each of the young poets by way of thunderous applause and shouts of support during and after their poems. One particular contestant, senior Wyatt Pendleton, described the emotions that he felt as he heard the crowd’s positive reaction to his performance.

“It was probably the most empowering moment of my life. Leading up to the Slam I was incredibly nervous about performing my poem but after I loosened the crowd up with my introduction, my confidence was through the roof,” said Pendleton. “After the Slam I was in the greatest mood ever.”

While the spectators certainly enjoyed all of the performances, they may not have realized the amount of sheer dedication and hard work that landed the poets their opportunity to perform.

In order to be considered for the Slam, students needed to submit their original works of poetry to either Mr. McCaffrey and Mrs. Balter. The students then performed their two-minute poems in a preliminary round in front of a panel of seven judges. The judges awarded scores out of ten and selected approximately 30 poets to perform in the actual Slam.

The poetry classes of Mr. McCaffery and Mrs. Balter also attended a workshop conducted by Mahogany Brown, a published poet who runs a weekly poetry slam in New York City and coaches the New York City Youth Slam Team.

“She kind of brings a certain credence to the whole process because she’s sort of renowned in her field,” said Mrs. Balter. “On a more specific level, she works one-on-one with the poets who are going to perform. I think she gives them tips and suggestions that are far beyond what Mr. McCaffery and I could.”

This year’s judging panel consisted of Mrs. Garcia, Ms. Giordano, Mr. LaBarca, Mrs. Netting, and Mrs. Owen. Their job was to score the contestants based on their performance, and the five contestants with the highest scores advanced to the final round. While all 30 poets did an outstanding job, it was senior Stephanie Giblin who was crowned champion at the end of the night.

Mrs. Balter remarked that the night of the Slam was the most rewarding part of the long process.

“I think that night, that moment when it all kind of comes together and you have 800 people coming to an event to hear students speak poetry. I think that’s amazing that the students create that much buzz. It’s that moment where the doors open, and everyone’s quiet, and the MC’s come out, and it starts and it goes…And we are just standing there watching it. And it’s because [the students] planned it and they did it spectacularly.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hit Counter provided by Los Angeles SEO