- MONDAY POST - Testing the Waters: Slam Poetry

I haven’t written poetry since high school. With the exception of a poem I recently wrote for Spanish 301 entitled “My Garden”, the last time I remember writing poetry of any kind was at least a year ago. The last time I wrote a lot of poetry was in high school. Feeling out of practice, I was a little nervous for last Wednesday’s book club.

Resourceful book club members conspired to bring a slam poet from Portland to the book club for the morning, to share a little of his work with us and to guide us as we attempted to write our very own slam poetry.

I love slam poetry and I watch youtube poetry videos a little obsessively, but as much as I love the cadence, the clever word play, and the performance, the thought of writing poetry to be performed intimidates me. Nonetheless, everyone was excited for this day. Our guest, a very talented Portland poet, did not disappoint and after hearing form him about how he goes about writing poems, he gave us a few prompts and sent us on our way. We wrote individually for 15 minutes and then shared and work-shopped our poems in small groups. Although I am usually very comfortable sharing my writing, poetry somehow feels different and I was a little nervous, particularly because it was a hastily written and unfinished piece.

My group, and I think this is representative of the groups in general, was incredibly supportive—they listened carefully, gave helpful, kind feedback, and everyone had an opportunity to share in what, to me, quickly became a comfortable environment.

As we move into our last week of book club, I am thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of the past term. I think that the slam poetry session represents one of the greatest triumphs of the past few months. Although no single theme has guided the term, one of the most notable differences is the sense of camaraderie among the UO and Serbu students. Wednesday’s slam poetry session affirmed that I am part of a supportive community that can make potentially scary things, like sharing poetry, seem okay.

- Phoebe

Outside Alumnus

U of O