It was a battle of words inside the Mt. Hope High School auditorium on Wednesday, May 7; not the kind that fuels debate and divides opposing parties, but the kind that embraces thoughts, feelings and ideas and conveys them through creative expression.
Seven students competed in the Mt. Hope High School poetry slam, an event that emerged from Kerry Mastriano’s Music as Literature class several years ago, and has evolved into an annual event that provides students an outlet in which their innermost thoughts and feelings can be shared in the form of their original poems.
While viewed as a competition — with bragging rights, if not lavish prizes — going to the top three poets, the event is more an opportunity for the artists to display their works through spoken word.
“It’s hard to get up in front of your peers, never mind sharing something as intimate as a poem,” said Ms. Mastriano.
And yet they did, displaying poise and passion in relaying their work.
Some of the poems told a somber story, like Patrick Collins’ “A Man From Morrow.” In it, Patrick relates the life of a man whose life changes for the better after getting married and raising a family, only to return to a life of sorrow with the death of his eldest son.
“No longer was the eldest man about tomorrow,
No longer were his days without sorrow”
Other poems told of the desire for acceptance, the perils of ignorance and racism, and learning to handle one’s emotions when faced with new experiences.
In his poem, Jacob Weeden recited a rhyme that led the audience through his thoughts as he dealt with the break-up of a relationship, not wanting to act on his emotions, but directing those feelings through his rhyme.
His poems concludes with the recognition that poetry is his outlet.
“… This is just me being totally honest see I share more with my fans than I do with my mans or my fam I turn to music cause that’s who gave me a chance when they all said that I can’t. This the revenge of the dreamers stay strong forever even if no one believes us.”
Jacob, a freshman, whose facial expression and gestures punctuated his thoughts, took third place among the competitors.
First and second place went to juniors Madeline Lessing and Samson Kneath, respectively.
“These students continue to blow my mind with their creativity and talent,” Ms. Mastriano said. “The lines that
separate them into various cliques melt away. Watching them all support one another is truly moving. I feel so lucky to be a part of it.”