Student poets draw laughter, tears, and more at Poetry Slam

Members of the RWU community filled all three levels of the Global Heritage Hall atrium on Thursday, April 5 to watch slammers perform poems that they had been preparing for months in advance. 

The renowned Poetry Slam remains one of the most well-attended events that takes place on the Roger Williams University campus each semester.  Faculty, staff, students, and visitors pulled chairs from surrounding classrooms, stood along the walls, and sat on the ground so that they could listen to the many talented student poets showcase their skills on the microphone.  

The night was broken into two sections: individual performances and group performances. Slammers were rated on a scale of 1-10, with these evaluations based on 40 percent performance and 60 percent content. 

Sophomore Isaac Martin took first place for their individual performance. Seniors Miranda Coker and Emily Dittmar came in second and third place, respectively. The Papa Twisted Slammers won the group event.

Starting off with individual performances, the slammers discussed a variety of topics, ranging from relationship problems to political issues.

During the intermission, t-shirts were raffled off. The host of the event, senior Skyler Moncada recited a poem, which came as no surprise, as Moncada has performed at many previous Poetry Slams.

Moncada pointed out that there are very few events on campus that students will voluntarily come to, making the Poetry Slam a “special event.”

After the intermission, it was time for the group slams. A group called New England Slam Poets delivered a piece about love and heartbreak. Papa Twisted Slammers followed with a poem about how spoiled millennials are. The last group performance was from a group called Dr. Seuss’ Slam I Am, who talked about love and what they wished for.

Throughout the night, audience members clapped and cheered as each poet delivered yet another strong performance. Associate Director of the RWU tutoring center Karen Bilotti presented each senior poet with flowers for their contributions to the Poetry Slam. 

“I am very moved by what these children share,” said Wendy MacDonough, secretary of the RWU tutoring center. “They mention a lot of private stuff in their works.” 

MacDonough was one of the judges for the event. Other judges included senior Jay Jennings, freshman Alexus Moniz, junior Matt Stone, senior Kaelyn Mostafa, and RWU Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Robert Jacobson.

This was Martin’s first experience participating in the Poetry Slam, and their poem, written a couple of months prior to the competition, captured how they felt after coming out of the closet, not feeling accepted, and then how far they have come since.

“The goal of the poem was to show an experience that not everybody encounters, and bring to life an experience that you hear about but you don’t really see it,” Martin said. 

Martin said they really enjoyed being a part of the Poetry Slam community, adding that the best part of their experience was how supportive the community is.  

“All of the people in the Slam are amazing; they’re just wonderful humans,” Martin said. “The workshops that we do working up to [the Slam], you just get close to everybody.”