Clash of the Poets

Artwork by Maddie Metzler. Words from poems presented or performed at the Poetry Slam appear in the hair of the figure above.
Marshfield poets meet on the stage of the auditorium to show off their talents.

They are poets, and they know it.

Marshfield High School held the eighth annual poetry slam on April 17. Students from each grade came together to share their thoughts and ideas with the community in the form of poetry. Sophomore Regan Tucker said she was excited to perform at the event.

“The poetry slam was a great opportunity ‘cause I love poetry to express myself,” Tucker said.

According to Tucker, poetry tends to show the emotion of others and allows the writer to express their opinion on different subjects. She said she wanted to address verbal bullying at school, as she has personally experienced bullying and has seen others be bullied.

“My brother tried to kill himself when he was 15 due to bullying. He had a rough time in high school,” Tucker said.

Raven Skinner, another sophomore poet, found rap music and encouragement from others as his influence to do the slam. His inspiration came from being different and wanting others to be able to accept themselves.

“People get picked on like every day,” Skinner said. “My poem is called “Being Different,” to point out it’s okay to be different.”

There was a panel of judges to grade students on their poems, including English teacher David Delgado, forensics adviser Kayla Crook and senior judges Natalia Taylor and Joseph Nielsen. The judges were selected by English teacher and poetry slam coordinator Catherine Hampton. Additionally, two guest judges, sophomore Addison Alford and junior John Hampton, who split the judging period, were randomly selected from the audience by English teacher Luke Parrish, who hosted the event. The poets were graded based on their creativity and their connection with the audience, along with other key elements. For Taylor, judging was something she looked forward to.

“I have a high appreciation for poetry and I think that it’s such a unique talent for people to be able to express themselves in such a way, so I’m excited to see these students’ hidden talents,” Taylor said.

Crook saw judging as an opportunity to help students with their passion.

“I just think what you get out of the poetry slam every time you go; you see the positive environment that’s created through the poetry slam. You see the support the students have for their fellow classmates,” Crook said. “I think that’s important, and what is most important, is that you see the students who support each other and that they care to really listen to deeper feelings about subjects.”

This was Delgado’s first time attending a poetry slam. He said he was happy to be a judge and was eager to see the poets’ creativity.  Although he was excited, he was also nervous.

“It is going to be difficult because it is going to be hard to actually judge people’s poetry and especially not to put a personal feeling into it,” Delgado said.

The slam resulted in junior Helena Platt and Tucker tying for first place, eighth grader Jessica Baimbridge and junior Carlos Bojorquez tying for second place and freshman Matthew Hampton and senior Amber Taylor tying for third place.

This was the third year Platt placed first in the poetry slam. She said she enjoys the unique atmosphere of the slam.

“Poetry slams, I think, are a really special thing. There are a bunch of people who don’t have to be particularly anything. They have this super cool energy,” Platt said. “Poetry slams are a lot about performance and there’s poetry, but a lot of it is about being human and feeling that beat, and it’s really awesome.”