By Rebecca Kaploun
Slam Down The Walls, a slam poetry competition hosted by the College’s creative writing club, INK, had the Bliss Hall Lounge filled with students the night of Friday, March 3.
Kyle Siegel, co-president of INK and a senior biology major, began the night with a heartfelt address to the audience.
“I was part of the board back in 2014 when we first started Slam Down The Walls three-and-a-half years ago, and it’s just been really wonderful and amazing to see how there’s always such a lovely turnout and such awesome support for the performers,” Siegel said.
To begin, Siegel asked the audience members to pick a number between one and 25. Those who guessed right became judges who had to assign a score between one and five to each of the performer’s three poems.
These scores would later be tallied to determine the winner.
First up was freshman English major Ine’a Smith, a newcomer to Slam Down The Walls. She performed her three pieces, captivating the audience with her lyrical rhymes and powerful voice as she discussed living in a home run by her single mother and not knowing her father.
“She was absolutely amazing,” said Camille Huynh, a sophomore biology major in the audience. “The pain in her voice made me sympathize with her.”
Siegel introduced the next performer as someone who “writes to express herself when other words can’t.”
INK regular Kristen Celafoni, a freshman secondary education and math dual major, recited from memory poems that were relatable and heartfelt, capturing the audience’s attention with her memorable lines centered around feelings of not being “good enough.”
“I loved it,” said Julia Pugliese, a sophomore secondary education and English dual major in the audience. “I really liked when she said, ‘It’s that I always seem to need people more than they need me,’ and ‘Being treated as an entertainment system wasn’t the same as being loved.’”
Freshman psychology major Mariam Ali followed with poems centering on self-love, with lines like “You are a commotion of miracles.”
Next came Alexia Guzman, a freshman psychology major who “writes to get the words out of her head,” Siegel said.
Guzman’s poetry taught the audience a few lessons, with lines such as “Talking does not necessarily equate to communicating,” and “Our lives are decided by the cottonmouth king” — a beautiful metaphor for money.
Finishing up the performances was political science major Kendel Stiles-Schatz, who “writes to express herself through different lenses,” Siegel said.
Her tone, movements and pauses left the audience captivated.
“I love writing poems where it’s two people, but it’s spoken just by one,” Stiles-Schatz said after the show. “I basically construct two personalities, and I either do a change of voice or I do a change of expression, and that’s how it indicates which one’s which.”
The audience appeared to appreciate Stiles-Schatz’s creativity, including Pugliese, who said, “She was just so good.”
After all the contestants had performed, the judges quickly tallied their scores and a winner was announced: Stiles-Schatz.
After accepting the winning certificate, Stiles-Schatz said she loves slam poetry because of the effect poetry can have on the audience.
“You can say one word and (the audience will) laugh, or one word and they’ll gasp or snap, and you’re now relating with every single person in the crowd,” she said. “I love it. I thrive when I am up there.”