Taft Poets Compete in Campus’s First Poetry Slam


Calvin Henry

Programs for the event are prepared by Taft’s Drama Club.

On Wednesday, April 19th, the Taft Theatre Department held its first poetry slam, “Humans Being Humans,” as a tribute to National Poetry Month. Students participated in a creative writing contest that included aspects of storytelling and performance. Poetry Slam is a form of a stage performance where poets do spoken word poetry in front of an audience and judges.

The submitted poetry went into topics such as Personal Identity, Personal Struggle, Culture, and Mental Health. Faith Sears-Eubanks, the host and lead coordinator, explained that she wanted to give students an opportunity to voice their struggles in a judgment-free environment.

Maya Olsen (left) receives Best Performance from Faith Sears-Eubanks (right), the host of the Poetry Slam. (Calvin Henry)

“I have been writing forever and we’ve done open mics at lunch and I really wanted to do a poetry slam,” Faith said. “It gives students a voice and especially because we do have an option for things to be performed by our advanced drama students, it gives the opportunity to share what they’ve been through.”

All poets gave excellent performances and connected with their audience. Each poem gave insight into each poet’s character. Many of the poets described performing as nerve-wracking but they enjoyed the experience.

Sayed Rosa, who performed “A Love in a Glove”, said he liked the “whole thing about poems [poetry slam]” and that this was a new experience.

“I think it was very fun. The experience was great, poetry was great, the people were amazing,” Karisma Lee shared.

In between each poem, the host gave brief announcements and even attempted stand-up comedy to lighten up the mood.

Many of the poets were inspired by their personal life experiences. Jazelle Henderson, who wrote “MY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE” was influenced by her experiences with insecurity and being labeled skinny. Noah Schreiber, who wrote “You Ever Hear the Song ‘Summer Wind’”, discussed his experience with cheating and how he relates to the song “Summer Wind.”

“The song and the experience of hurting someone, putting it into words can be hard and rewarding,” Noah said.

The winning poems were decided by Mr. Lasky and Ms. Boulanger. After the performances, the judges left the Oral Arts room to privately decide the winners.
Best Poem – Talia Porter, “The Price you Paid”
Best Performance – Maya Olsen, “THEN (the haunted house of a living ghost).”
Best Overall Poem and Performance – Karisma Lee, “Skin”
Talia and Maya both received a $10 Starbucks gift card and Karisma received a $20 gift card.

Faith Sears-Eubanks arranges preparations for the night’s event. (Calvin Henry)

When asked about the future of poetry slams in Taft, Faith Sears-Eubanks said that she wants to work with Mr. Lasky, Ms. Boulanger, and Mr. Sehres to discuss ways to improve the poetry slam. Faith also added that Taft Theatre is actively trying to receive approval to continue the poetry slam next school year.

“I’m hoping to work with Mr. Lasky and Ms. Boulanger the rest of this year, along with Mr. Sehres, to think about what worked and what didn’t. And what we can do to make the turnout bigger and get the information out better overall. As well as possibly making the submission open from the start of the year all the way to Apriĺ.” Faith said.