Students provide powerful poetry at ‘Slam’

By Tom Ballard
Staff Writer

Senior communications major Porsche Lee Carmichael was proclaimed the victor of INK’s Slam Down The Walls poetry competition on Friday, Oct. 2, in the Bliss Hall lounge.

The contest featured three self-written poems per each of the three competitors who were evaluated by judges selected from the audience.

“It feels good,” Carmichael said about winning the contest. “I feel like I write very differently than many people at TCNJ (so) it feels good to know that other people like your (writing).”

Carmichael’s work ranged from her poem “Waiting,” which is about a dissolving romance, to “Dissonance,” a poem she wrote about the death of her grandmother this past summer.

Carmichael reads personal poems about romance and her grandmother. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Carmichael reads personal poems about romance and her grandmother. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

“Usually, I don’t perform personal poems,” Carmichael said. “‘Dissonance’ is extremely personal because it’s my grandmother’s poem. I usually write a lot of poems and I decided this year that I was just going to perform a lot more.”

Kyle Siegel, the treasurer of the College’s creative writing club, INK, was supportive about Carmichael’s performance.

“(Carmichael) has been meaning to come out and do this for a very long time,” Siegel said. “(INK is) so happy that she finally (was) able to (perform).”

The other two competitors in the poetry slam were Zach Fuentes, a fifth-year senior English major, and Katie Van Pelt, a freshman open options pre-law major.

Fuentes performed his poems “Thoughts on a Tree,” “Required” and “Thoughts on Gravity.”

“I selected the one about trees because it seemed to have done well last semester,” Fuentes said. “I think ‘Required’ just shows the solitudes that are seldomly discussed and then ‘Gravity’ because I’m really into sci-fi and the environment.”

Van Pelt reflected on her past experiences and home environment in her poems “Danger,” “Ocean Song” and “Moon and Stars.”

“(‘Danger’) was about a rough break-up I had with my first boyfriend,” Van Pelt said. “The last two (poems were about) times when I was feeling better, they’re about empowerment and how I felt when I feel strong.  I live by the sea, so that’s why a lot of my things involve the water.”

Carmichael received a certificate with the signatures of the three judges and the offer from Siegel to record one of her poems into a spoken word poem.

The students in attendance weathered the damp and cold temperatures in order to pack the Bliss lounge.

“I think it was a wonderful turnout,” Siegel said. “We normally have 35-40 people, but I think this was an all-time high and the weather didn’t really impact our attendance that much.”

This event is the only poetry slam that INK will be holding this semester, however, they look forward to sponsoring a whole slew of other events, such as their Visiting Writers Series, featuring Michael Dickman on Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the Library Auditorium and a Halloween Coffeehouse later in the month.