Calabrese takes home the gold in Poetry Slam

“At least I knew my parents believed in me.”

This was the final line to senior Lauren Calabrese’s individual poem, which garnered much applause from the large audience. With a combined score of 39.6 from the six judges, Calabrese won first place for the individual category of RWU’s 20th annual Poetry Slam. 

The poet took a humorous, yet serious viewpoint on the topic of the recent and controversial college admissions scandal. Talk of “Aunt Becky” using bribes to get her children into the University of Southern California were woven throughout Calabrese’s poem, as she drew attention to the fact that many hardworking parents and students struggle in terms of being able to afford a college education. With her last line, she references the fact that parents involved with this scheme doubted their children’s abilities, and, therefore, resorted to illegal measures. 

Co-sponsored by the Writing Center and Multicultural Student Union, the Poetry Slam never fails to bring a packed crowd of students and faculty to three levels of GHH.

Including Calabrese, there were 15 student poets who took the stage this semester, covering significant topics such as sexual assault, depression and drug addiction.

Second-place winner in the individual category was Indigo Martin, who performed a poem entitled “Journey of a Slut.” This piece touched on the idea of “searching bodies for an escape,” along with other notions about sex and self-confidence which come with finding one’s voice again. 

Kara Rydelek was awarded third place with her individual poem about trying to remain positive even when it seems like nothing is going the right way. She said things do get better, and while this may not appear to be the case in the present, there will be brighter days in the future.

Three group poems were in the line-up for the group portion of the event. One of the group poems discussed different gender and sexuality “packages” that could be purchased from a theoretical store. Another group referenced modern news coverage, in that citizens should not live inside a bubble when it comes to absorbing news.

The winning group poem, and a huge fan-favorite from the night, was a poem created by “The Bitches,” entitled “An Open Letter to Fuck Boys Everywhere.” This poem was extremely comical, and the creators pointed out the flaws of men they have faced, some more humorous, and some downright unpleasant. 

Multiple lines similar to the following caused the audience to burst out in laughter:

“I’d rather listen to a fuck boy cry than feel his hot breath on my neck, ‘Did you cum yet?’ If you have to ask, then the answer is no,” said junior Lucy Lawlor during the poem. 

This poem received a standing ovation from the audience, and a perfect score of all 10s, totaling a score of 40/40 for the group. 

All of the poets seemed to thoroughly love what they were doing, and it was easy to see that they showed an immense amount of support to each other.

Karen Bilotti, associate director for the Tutoring Center and coordinator of the Writing Center, started the slam at RWU back in 2009. She expressed how close the slammers become during their time preparing for the event. 

“I just get inspired every time, every Slam I get inspired. I can’t believe how talented, deep and insightful they all are, how much they give of themselves to the audience and how much they give of themselves to each other,” she said. “You probably saw the interactions. They are a tight bunch, they are really a Slam fam.”
Calabrese takes away these close-knit relationships as her final Slam comes to a close, encouraging anyone with an interest in this event to take a closer look at it and try it out.

“To anyone who ever wants to do it, I highly encourage it. It’s great, there’s nothing that beats this experience,” Calabrese said.