Snapping along to post-election blues

Slammer Michelle Allan reciting her comedic poem.

At this week’s Queen’s Poetry Slam at The Mansion, poets were encouraged to “Use Their Voice Now.” And voices were raised, mid-finals, to yell in unison about the inevitable apocalypse caused by president-elect Donald Trump. 

The hilarious and enthusiastic Rachel Manson, ArtSci ’17, hosted the night, in between glasses of wine and loud exclamations to her own audience to “be louder” and her guest speakers to “be less talented.” 

Raven Adams, ArtSci ’17, started off the tone of the evening, exhuming festering emotions with a hard-hitting work-in-progress titled ‘Trump is President’. She started writing it the morning she woke up to the reality of President Trump. Within the poem she notes, “Trump is perhaps the most miserable person I have ever seen.”

“Money and fear built these Western countries,” Adams said. “Why am I supposed to swallow this new reality?”

“I’ve just recently become a nihilist,” Manson proclaimed afterward. “Anyone else?”

In the competitive portion of the night, five slammers faced off against each other — in theory only. Judges stayed strictly within the eight to 10 range, and drew hearts next to their scores. 

When speakers went over their three-minute time limit, the audience was encouraged to yell: “You rat bastard, you’re ruining it for everyone! But it was well worth it.” But the poetry was so immersive that no one ended up timing it.

Not every slammer talked about Trump — some discussed themes like heartbreak, poverty and mental illness. But the atmosphere remained in that in-between place of dark humour and deep-seated concern.

“My poem is on my phone because I’m millennial trash,” joked slammer Michelle Allan, ConEd ’18, before launching into a poem called ‘How To Survive Your First Breakup’ that made the audience laugh, cry and snap. 

Alyssa Cooper, a Kingston native, presented a painfully-relatable poem about family. “My mother is my biggest fan,” she lead, later rhyming, “My mother doesn’t know that her words, regurgitating things she doesn’t mean, is like a spear between my ribs.”

Cooper also presented a poem about the election, claiming, “There is no punch line to a man in his thousand dollar suit.” This was a sentiment that echoed the words of another Kingston poet, Bruce Kaufmann, who also performed, calling Trump “the orange-faced clown who wasn’t funny.”

Billie Kearns, or “Billie the Kid,” Sci `18, brought the evening to a close with her poem ‘Things My Mother Told Me’. The complex emotions, beautifully told, captured how the ones who are closest have the power to both make and break us.

“Write your poetry from there,” host Manson said about heartbreak. “Write your poetry from everywhere. My first poem was after a chlamydia scare.”

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