|Words Will Fly as Davidson Hosts Inaugural Intercollegiate Poetry Slam Competition
November 02, 2011
by Cathryn Westra
| Natasha Rivera '12 is president of Davidson's FreeWord slam poetry club.
Davidson College's slam-poetry team, FreeWord, invites the public to the first -ever Carolina Collegiate Slam on Saturday, November 5.
The event titled "This Slam Will Not Be Televised," will bring together eight teams of poet-performers from seven Carolina institutions to competitively recite their original work, and will begin at 8 p.m. in the Duke Family Performance Hall.
Tickets are free for all college and high school students, and $3 for non-students. Tickets can be ordered by calling 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or online at www.davidson.edu/tickets.
The Carolina Collegiate Slam was organized by Davidson student-poet James Tolleson '13. "James had the idea, so we sent out invitations to a couple of schools," said FreeWord President Natasha Rivera '12. "We had no clue we'd have such a positive response."
Participants in the slam include teams from Davidson, Duke, Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina A & T, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte and UNC Greensboro.
Teams of up to four poets will compete in three rounds. For the first round, teams perform two poems each. Performances are rated by a five-judge panel, which picks four teams to move on to the second round. In the second round teams are again allowed two poems, and the two top-scoring teams move on to the final round.
Rivera commented, "Emotions get pretty intense during the final round. Just two teams from the original eight remain, and the winner is chosen based on one final poem."
She continued, "Slam poetry can be about many things, from personal issues to political statements. But one thing's for sure-this art form is full of enthusiasm. It's an opportunity for freedom of expression, and there is guaranteed to be high energy at this event."
Judges for the event are selected from the audience who are new to slam poetry. Rivera explained, "People who have never been to a slam before will be chosen as judges. Having inexperienced audience members as judges gets everyone involved. If first-time viewers are judges, hopefully they will become excited about slam poetry and will feel welcome into the slam community."
The judges score competitors based on "writing" and "performance." The "writing" portion of the score is based on whether a poet's narrative is well-grounded and easily followed. "Performance" factors include voice projection, tone, pace and body language. The highest and lowest scores for each poet are dropped, and the ultimate score comes from averaging the three median scores.
There will be no material reward in this year's event, but top performers have the privilege of claiming victory in the first-ever Carolina Collegiate Slam.
Davidson's FreeWord team was founded in 2009. Soon thereafter, the team placed in the top 10 out of 35 teams in the 2010 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) event at Emerson College in Boston. Last spring FreeWord members James Tolleson '13 and Kate Kelly '11 were invited to the CUPSI finals to perform what was deemed one of the best group poems of the competition. Five Davidson FreeWorders will attend this year's national CUPSI competition at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, April 6-9, 2012.
For more information about FreeWord and for videos of past performances visit the Davidson College Freeword Blog.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.