The 2013 MHHS Poetry Slam held last week was a marvelous showcase of bravery, fun and self-expression, as students took their turn at the microphone to perform original poetic work (check out this article in the East Bay Newspapers covering the event). Reflecting on this year’s event, MHHS teacher and Poetry Slam founder Kerry Mastriano said:
“Students tend to allow poetry to intimidate them. They often feel disconnected to it and consider it to be on some kind of unattainable level. My goal in creating the Music as Literature course was to present poetry to students in a more approachable fashion. Many of them don’t realize that songs are poems, and once they do, they are more willing to embrace poetry altogether. While teaching the course I witnessed a kind of metamorphosis occur; students who were once terrified of poetry became excited about analyzing, writing and performing it. A Poetry Slam then seemed like a natural progression. The students this year were amazing. This is the third year we have held a Slam and they continue to blow me away. They are so brave to get up there and pour their hearts out in front of their peers. But what I find to be the most magical element is the way they respond to one another. If one performer freezes or begins to struggle you can hear a pin drop, and if you look around you can see and feel dozens of other students in the audience holding their breaths, nodding and prompting as if to say “you can do it!” For a brief time, all lines are blurred, cliques are disassembled, and they are all supporting one another during an extremely vulnerable moment. It’s deeply moving.”
Ms. Mastriano hopes to expand this event for next year. If you would like to support the next MHHS Poetry Slam, contact Ms. Mastriano at MastrianoK@bw.k12.ri.us.
I especially love Madeline Lessing’s poem for its earnest voice and clever imagery-