A second poetry slam will take place Tuesday night, hosted by a professor in the Department of Language and Literature, Al Haley.
Students from Haley’s ENGL 323, Poetry Workshop will perform at the slam along with musical entertainment, special guest poets, and students who are brave enough to participate in the open mic portion of the program.
“People just are energized. They start talking to strangers.” Haley said. “There’s a recognition of we’re all different, but we’re also all human and we need things that the other person has–including the poetic record of the hard-earned life lessons other people have received and the dreams that inspire them.”
Typically, there is one slam in the fall, but because Haley’s class has 15 students, he decided to have two slams. The first slam took place October 3. During a slam, the MC picks three people at random to be the judges. Each poet has three minutes to perform and after they are done the judges score them. The top scorer of the evening wins a prize. The winner of the first slam was Rita Rodriguez, senior ministry major from San Antonio.
“She shook the room with a blast against the building of a border wall and white people treating brown-skinned people as if they’re outsiders,” Haley said.
The theme of the first slam was a tribute to artist Prince, and the second will pay tribute to Bob Dylan. Dylan was the first musician to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
“The world has finally recognized that the very best song lyrics are poetry.” Haley said.
Every year since 2007, Haley has hosted a poetry slam for his ENGL 323.
Daniel Vargas, graduate student in accounting, participated for the first time in a poetry slam.
“It was pretty good, I was kind of nervous because I am not one to speak in front of a crowd very often.” Vargas said. “After I was up there and I was getting into it, it was really, really fun.”
Vargas’ poem focused on growing up in a world that does not appreciate childlike imagination. Vargas said personal experience inspired him to write his poem.
“It was very fitting to talk about something nostalgic and close to home.” Vargas said. “I think I would definitely participate again in another slam.”