Arts and Lifestyle

Litmag poetry slam caps off writers week

Menlo's annual Writers Week, which occurred before winter break, was capped off by a successful poetry slam. Staff photo: Shelby Rende.

By Shelby Rende

Every year at the end of Writers Week, Litmag hosts a poetry slam, highlighting teachers and students who have contributed throughout the year. This year's slam was made up of faculty and students performing a mix of original and others’ poetry.

Co-Editor and Chief sophomore Bella Guel said that they are excited with all the new performers, especially freshman, this year. Students like freshman Sara Fujimori and junior Alejandro Diaz-Ross performed lighter pieces, while students such as junior Natalie Jarrett performed a moving piece about mass incarceration of African-Americans during the early 1900’s. Jarrett was inspired to perform this after finding a album of recordings from members of Black Chain Gangs in the early 20th century. Sophomore and co-editor-in-chief Jonathan “Soda” Hou ended the show with a rendition of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Raven”.

Not only did students perform, but teachers as well. “We are just excited that we have so many new English department faculty that are willing to get involved and really come, support and perform,” Guel said.

English teachers Nick Romeo and Jane Ridgeway were some of the poets who performed. Ridgeway performed an original piece which was a found poem, a poem comprised of words from another source. In this case Ridgeway made a whole poem from the comment section on a Bay Area Craigslist page.

Romeo chose to take a different approach though, performing three different versions of “The Odyssey”. He started off with a version in Greek from the original text and spoke on his experience learning Greek, then performed an version translated to English, and finally finished with a short poem written by Keats inspired by “The Odyssey”.

Litmag meets every Tuesday at lunch to practice, but anyone can submit their poems to Guel or Hou if they would like to perform at a slam, be in a penny press or be included in litmag that is sent out at the end of the year. “We love seeing new faces and freshman that are really involved,” Guel said.

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