Poetry slams emotions on the crowd

Chris Gilleo, Photographer

People of all ages were invited to Stillwater Junior High School to present their writings to an audience of poetry lovers on April 9.  The event was small enough to be held in the library, yet it was overflowing with emotion.  Writers ranging from sixth graders to award winning adults had poured their souls into the writings they were presenting.

Poetry is typically rhythmically focused, emphasizing patterns in writing.  However, slam poetry, the core of the event, is more focused on telling a story and verbal emphasis.

I was surprised how intense the younger kids were. They must really felt passionate about the poems.”

— Andrew Hammerlund

“The poets moved their hands and changed their facial expressions a lot,” poetry slam attender junior Andrew Hammerlund said. “You could tell they had a lot of feelings and life experience put into their poems.”

There are many reasons these authors tell their stories in a more unique sense than others, yet the most prominent is intense emotions that are difficult to express.  For some it is a form of therapy or a diary, however there are countless definitions.

“Poetry is a good way of representing subconscious ideas and emotions you would otherwise have trouble expressing,” event co-organizer Eleanor Sand said.

A common theme in all of the poems presented was difficult life experiences.  Ranging from depression to frustrating jobs, these writings reminded everyone that no matter what they are going through, they are not alone in it.

“The poems were really powerful,” Hammerlund said.  “I was surprised how intense the younger kids were.  They must really felt passionate about the poems.”

Despite containing distinct similarities, each poem was wildly unique, synonymous to how the poets began writing.  Some say they simply sat down and started writing, others had more singular introductions.

“In sixth grade I had a teacher who organized a poetry event and selected a few kids to be in it,” Sand said.  “I was one of the kids.  It was traditional poetry and a few years later I got into slam poetry.  I started writing because I thought it was interesting how words can represent abstract concepts.”

With like starting points, many people expect each poet to write in the same sense about the same topics.  In reality poetic writing style stems from personality and the topics branch from the writers passions.

“I like to write about nature and animals,” junior Julia Kobilka said.  “Writing about what I like makes everything more interesting for me.  I also think it makes for better poems.”

Writing poems is proven to assist those in troubled times.  It is a way to vent and show emotions that are nearly impossible to verbalize and have people fully understand.

“It is really calming,” Sand said.  “I think a lot of peoples problems as adults could be solved by poetry when they are younger.”