February 28, 2010

Poetry Slam Competition Brings Together Student and Professional Poets

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Three-person tables, dimmed lighting and mocktails made RPCC’s multipurpose room reminiscent of a New York City poetry club Friday night. The occasion was the “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” poetry slam hosted by the Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc., part of “Delta Week” –– an annual series of fundraising events.

“We hadn’t heard of a poetry slam being done in a while,” said Chinomnso Nnodum ’10, president of Delta Sigma Theta. “We figured it would be something different and new for everyone.”

The night began with a performance by “After Six”— a student jazz ensemble — followed by ten students competing for the prize of “Most Lyrically Ill” who showcased their poetry in the slam portion of the evening, with five randomly-chosen student judges evaluating the poetry’s content and delivery.

Students poetry touched a range of emotions, with some bringing guests to laughter and others to almost tears.

“It was amazing to see people so open and willing to share things,” said Caroline Delson ’13 who was in attendance. “Everyone was so into their performance.”

Between the competition, which ran throughout the night, guests were treated to poetry from some of today’s most accomplished slam poets.

Tokia “2 Deep” Carter, a national slam champion, performed her selection of poetry touching on topics such as the plight of black women and 21st-century racism. Mahogany Browne, poet and host at the famed Nuyorican Poets café in New York City, followed.

At the conclusion of the student competition portion, the headliner of the night, Gina Loring, took the stage to perform some of her poetry.

Loring, who is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., was featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s Lyric Café and in numerous collaborations with established hip-hop artists.

Loring believed the night was a success and encouraged more events like it to occur.

“Poetry and live music events are important because they provide inspiration to students to find their own voices,” Loring said. “Creative expressions like these can serve as a therapeutic tool, as entertainment and as a source of great exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking.”

The proceeds for the event went to the chapter’s Rosario Alvarez scholarship fund, given to one Ithaca High School student every year.

Original Author: Andrew Boryga