Queen’s Poetry Slam returns full force

Kingston poets share their stories at The Grad Club

The first slam of the year.

Run monthly, Queen’s Poetry Slam invites one and all to share their spoken word poetry in a scored competition. There are two rounds, allowing each poet three minutes for the chance to show off their best couplets and metaphors.

 With a small yet energetic crowd, the event had the vibe of an arts-inspired sporting event.

 When the crowd wasn’t chanting and cheering, the room was captivated by the poetry. As each performer shared their innermost thoughts and feelings on the microphone, the room filled with gentle snaps of agreement and support. Whether the piece was heart-warming or heartbreaking, comedic or philosophical, the audience clung to every word.

 Sitting in the audience, I was enraptured by the honesty of each story and the power of each poet’s delivery and performance. In particular, participant Alyssa Cooper performed her poem “Sea Foam” with a near musical delivery. Cooper conveyed this love poem using metaphors about music and the body, elongating certain vowels, then picking up the pace through staccato stanzas. It made me appreciate every letter of the English alphabet.

 Held at The Grad Club, this event had a supportive, interconnected atmosphere. Three random audience members were chosen to score the competition making the event more interactive and the competition pressure low.

 There were also multiple opportunities for positive group chants to build suspense before scores were revealed, or when a poet went over the time limit. Not to mention the hosts that kept the audience laughing between acts with their insatiable energy.

 The warmth, inclusivity and fun of this event is the result of passionate creators behind the scenes striving to create an inclusive space.

 Co-director, Nicole Belanger commented on the importance of the Poetry Slam environment.

 “We want to do everything we can in our power to make [the] environment comfortable and open,” Belanger said. “People come who don’t read poetry, or don’t know anyone who reads poetry because we make…a place where people’s voices can be heard.”

 The work of the directors and executive team make Queen’s Poetry Slam the perfect forum for new or experienced poets and spectators.

 Co-director, and performer, Billie Kearns gave encouraging words to people interested in spoken word poetry saying, “You don’t have to sound like any of the famous poets…you can make it your own, and stay true to your voice.”

 I left feeling connected with the audience, thankful to the poets that shared their stories and inspired to write poetry of my own. It’s safe to say I can’t wait for the next Slam. 

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