Suffrard wows crowd at poetry slam

Suffrard performs "Happy Anniversary" at the RWU Poetry Slam

Emma Bartlett, Arts and Culture Editor

Suffrard is a second-year slammer whose poems involve situations from her past. She spoke about being bad at confrontation and said that instead of saying anything, she suppresses it and writes about it in a notebook. Over time, those experiences eventually form into poems. She said participating in the slam allows her to say what she feels.

“To have a panel where you can say what you want to say uncensored is such a big tool,” she said. “This is a little more raw and you get more emotions.”

At the event, Suffrard performed her poem “Happy Anniversary,” which stemmed from three different experiences. The title came from the celebration of the 400th anniversary of slavery. The most shocking part of the poem was when she talked about being 13 years old walking down the street, when a woman coming toward her drew her purse closer as she passed. Suffrard was amazed that her race caused this woman to feel frightened by her. 

Suffrard said the hardest part of putting her poem together was being concise. Some things were taken out last minute since it was important not to bombard the audience with too much material. Finding the appropriate length for each topic was essential. If the message was too long or too short, it wouldn’t hit. Suffrard wanted to create something that would resonate with the crowd.

Along with attending poetry workshops for the event, Suffrard worked on different tones and how she wanted to present herself during the performance. Being a fan of poets Maya Angleou and Langston Hughes, Suffrard worked on imitating Angleou’s confidence while she was on stage. Suffrard is also not afraid of the spotlight, especially if there’s a message that needs to be heard. 

“People like my voice, which means I have the ability to bring up important topics because people will listen and they listened tonight,” she said. “I did something right.”

Her favorite part of the event was intermission.

“It gives you a chance to take a deep breath and center yourself without hearing everyone else’s poem,” she said.

Suffrard also emphasized the importance of attending the poetry slam.

“Administration should be here. They teach us, but don’t listen to us and this is our way to tell them.”

She feels that this is an event more people need to be aware of. If individuals don’t have something to say, they should at least come and listen to other people’s voices.