GHS Poetry Slam Brings People Together


Simon Scannell

Finalists Anne Holder, Alexis Klementis, Emily Carter, and Kyle Asberry.

Simon Scannell, Staff Writer & Page Designer

  Words spring from the poet’s mouth, either slow and dripping with emotion or loud and angry at the world. The audience looks at them, leaning forward in their seats. In some cases tears can be seen starting to form in their eyes.

  It’s Gresham High School’s annual poetry slam. Ten individuals have signed up, and ready or not, when their name is called they stand up and read their poem aloud.

“[I liked] how it projected what I felt. And in the end that’s what I really wanted,” junior, Kyle Asberry said.

  The audience claps when the poet finishes, either walking back to the audience immediately or taking a bow. The judges raise their small whiteboards with ratings on them with dry-erase markers. The audience claps and the cycle repeats. Applause. Poem. Applause. Ratings. Applause.

 “Don’t be afraid to try new things. They could always make you come back and remember the good times,” Asberry said.     

  Four individuals move on to the next round. A winner is chosen, as well as a runner-up. Emily Carter, a junior is going to Verselandia, a larger poetry slam in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland on Thursday, April 25 at 7pm. Junior Anne Holder was chosen as the runner-up.

 “Different types of writing call to different people,” English teacher, Crystal Ginger said. And it seems that poetry calls to the 30-some-odd students and staff who came to the poetry slam on Monday.

  “I have loved slam [poetry] since 7th grade,” junior Alexis Klementis, a participant in the GHS slam, said. “[I want] to get something with meaning out there.”

  On Thursday, May 2 there is a qualifying round at Gresham High School for the East County Poetry Slam. Alex Dang, a Portland poet, will be one of the judges at this event. Dang hosted a workshop on how to perform a slam poem in the GHS library on Tuesday, April 23 to get participants ready for the larger slam event.

  “The point of slam poetry is to get everyone to feel what you feel,” Ginger said.