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The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of C. Milton Wright High School

The Pony Express

A Grand Poetry Slam

Students Bringing Poetry to Life
A+Grand+Poetry+Slam

As of this year, a brand-new book has been added to the English 10 curriculum. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is the newest addition to the assortment of books that sophomores in Honors English will be reading. It is a collection of realistic fiction poems about the main character, Xiomara Batista, and her coming of age as a free-spirited Afro-Latina 10th grade girl in New York. She experiences conflict with her family, her friends, a more-than-friend, society, and herself. Her escape from it all (and half of the problem itself): poetry.   

 

To foster understanding of The Poet X and prompt her students to relate to Xiomara on a more personal level, Mrs. Christ asked students to author several poems and choose one to “slam” to the class. The act of slamming a poem denotes reciting a poem for a group by combining writing, performance, and often competition with audience participation in a high-energy environment. In the realm of slam poetry, performances are meant to provoke emotion and prompt thought.  

 

While people traditionally memorize their poems and incorporate movements to enhance the listening and viewing experiences, most people read from their journals or laptops the work they had previously written in class. Some students slammed poems about sports, their lives, their families, and food. Even those who did not love the idea of slamming a poem reveled in the idea of having a free period to listen to what their friends had to say.  


Because the slam was such a success, Mrs. Christ decided it would be done again. This time, students had a choice of whether they would slam a poem and what they would perform besides poetry. Themes of holidays, winning, freedom, impact, and the writing process itself were present in the poems. One student, Isabelle Goldberg, played “On My Own” from the musical Les Misérables on the piano. 

Overall, slam poetry allowed students to open up to their classmates, face their fears, and expand their appreciation for the English language. Thank you to Mrs. Christ, Elizabeth Acevedo, and all the students who tried something new. 

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