By Kelly Corbett
Verses about the American Dream, online dating and even the Fourth Amendment were read on Friday, April 10, at INK’s “Slam Down the Walls” Poetry Competition. Poetry lovers gathered in the Bliss Lounge for a night filled with rhymes and competition as seven hopefuls took to the mic, each sharing three original poems. Judges were randomly selected from the audience, facing a difficult task as they scored each poem and ultimately chose which slam poet would walk out with a special recording session.
The night began with Patrick Lin, a sophomore economics and international studies major, who graced the audience with his poem “The Architect” about a love that just didn’t quite work out.
“Loving you made me play hopscotch in my chest,” Lin read. “Don’t you see, this place is beautiful. I built this. I built this life around you.”
Lin’s poem employed a central metaphor in which falling in love was compared to the work of a designer.
“The Architect builds his life’s work knowing that one day it will be abandoned,” Lin said. “I am just a visitor in my own creation now.”
On a lighter note, Andrew Edelblum, a junior psychology major, shared his experience with making an online dating account on OkCupid during winter break. With lines such as “This is the future of love,” he took the audience through the experience of creating an OkCupid profile. Being asked questions such as “Are carbohydrates something you think about often, yes or no?” listeners got a feel of the process of online dating.
“‘Will you teach your kids to believe in Santa Claus, yes or no?’ Well, I was raised Jewish,” Edelblum said, which elicited laughter from the audience.
Other poems read throughout the night touched on more personal issues such as suicide and abusive relationships.
Reigning “Slam Down the Walls” champion, Kira DeSomma took the slam stage again touching on issues such as mental illness and eating disorders in her work.
“One of the reasons I write is so that other people who struggle with similar themes will know that they are not alone,” the junior English major expressed.
In her piece, “The Poem You Told Me Not to Write to You,” she gave a realistic approach to having a crush that didn’t work out well.
“I am trying to forget the conversations he and I had in my head. I am trying to let go of whole cities, whole countries. It is time to unplug. It is time to uproot,” DeSomma read.
It was clear that her lines resonated well with the audience, for they were quiet and rapt as she went through her work.
“I don’t want to tell him my secret names, not to him nor the ocean, not to anyone else. Not anymore,” DeSomma read. “I just want to eat plums with him. I never promised I wouldn’t write this poem, so like, he can’t even be mad?”
Later on, DeSomma also read to the audience “Desperate Facebook Msgs I Never Send To the Guys I Am DTF.” The poem sheds a light on some of the speaker’s intended messages—“I don’t even know how to pronounce your last name,” or “I’m sorry to bother you tonight, but I’m exhausted and drunk with disappointment” — that never made it to the other recipient’s inbox.
After all the performers had read, the judges tallied up their scores and crowned the poetic winner.
DeSomma, with her truthful and beautiful verses, was once again crowned the “Slam Down the Walls” winner.
“I love poetry because it gives me a voice,” DeSomma said, “and competing gives me an opportunity to share that voice with others.”