Poetry slam performers impress audience


By Shaylen Crook & Alyssa Lovell | Collaborative Reporters

There was laughter, there were tears, poems were read and hearts were touched. On April 2, the Marshfield English Department hosted its 2013 Poetry Slam. Sixteen contestants performed original poetry in front of a cafeteria full of friends and family.

Most of the contestants were nervous about performing, including sophomore Helena Platt, who tied for first place.

“If anybody tells you they don’t get nervous to get up there, they’re lying,” Platt said.

English teacher David Kline, who hosted the night’s event, was impressed with all the talent the performers displayed.

“Oh man, they did amazing. They were so good,” Kline said. “I was blown away.”

Junior Brittany Campbell, who attended the slam, commends the slammers for their courage to express themselves in front of their peers.

“I think it takes a lot to get up in front of that many people,” Campbell said.

Among those who participated were seniors Zaq Carroll, Chase Davidson, Carmen Erb, Nathan Fox, Cody Glenn, Noshua Setzer and Michael Stephens, sophomores Carlos Bojorquez, Leticia Edwards, Platt and Noel Wright, and freshmen Leaona Brown, Daisy Caballero, William Crombie, Shawn Marshman and Regan Tucker.

Each performance was scored by five judges, including MHS librarian Peggy Christensen, seniors Andrea Malone and Jonathan Mapilisan, English teacher Luke Parrish and guest judge senior Jackie Pierce who was chosen from the audience. Each judge gave the poets a score ranging from two to 10 points. Half of the 10 points were based on the poem itself, and the other half were focused on the poet’s performance.

Kline felt honored to have hosted the night and present the poets, who he believed were fantastic.

“It was a privilege to introduce such talent,” Kline said. “It was really nice to see wonderful poets.”

Every poet who placed in the top three took home a variety of gift cards ranging in $20-100. Davidson and Glenn tied for third place, Setzer took second and Carroll and Platt shared the first place victory.

“It felt incredibly awesome and it was incredibly fun,” Platt said.

Mapilisan, who also provided entertainment for the audience along with Davidson during score tabulation, believes this poetry slam was the best yet.

“They did really well; this year was the best I’ve heard,” Mapilisan said. “All of them delivered pretty well.”

Mapilisan also enjoyed judging, along with supplying entertainment while the final scores were being calculated.

“It was really nice actually being a part of it other than it simply being entertainment,” Mapilisan said. “All in all, it was pretty fun. Challenging, but fun.”

Fellow judge Malone enjoyed the night more than she had expected to.

“It was very fun. It [judging] forces you to think about the poem a lot more,” Malone said.

Many of the poets spoke of overcoming challenging circumstances, such as Setzer dealing with homelessness and becoming the first in three generations of his family to graduate high school, to Platt sharing about having a stutter as a child and being introverted, but declaring that sometimes the quietest people have the most to say.

Carroll’s poem , “Shaun,” which was about discrimination against homosexuals, particulary made an impact on Malone and the audience.

“I am really surprised how powerful the poems were,” Malone said. “Zaq’s poem was the second time I’ve ever teared up at a poetry slam.”

Sophomore Brynna Sherley was also impacted by Carroll’s message.

“I was an emotional wreck when Zaq did his poem,” Sherley said.

Carroll, who wrote his poem during last semester, had a specific series of events which inspired him.

“A few years ago… there was a September where a lot of gay teens killed themselves,” Carroll said. “And that hurt me.”

He had performed with the hopes of letting other people feel comfortable going through life without wearing a mask.

“I thought that I would be able to open people up to the idea it is okay to be yourself in front of other people,” Carroll said. “I feel like it’s going to be easy to be open in school. I hope it sparks kindness.”