Poetry competition should be a slam: Event has coffeehouse theme, original student work

By Jarrod Thacker

Aspiring bards at UK will have the opportunity to throw down the figurative gauntlet 7:30 p.m. on Monday, as the Cats Den hosts its first Poetry Slam of the semester.

This unique event will feature a coffeehouse theme, where both poets and listeners will be treated to Starbucks coffee, pastries and compete for prizes.

“We’re using a casual coffeehouse vibe for people to get up and do their original works,” said Hannah Sloan, a Cats Den coordinator. “I think this would be a great way for poets to showcase their talents.”

Alexis Gray, a Cats Den coordinator who presides over the Poetry Slam, believes this is a great opportunity for UK students to get involved on campus.

“Everybody says there’s nothing to do on campus,” Gray said. “This gives them the chance to do something on campus, and to do something creative, since it’s their own work.”

Students wanting to take part in this event are encouraged to bring original material, but they are lenient on requirements for participation.

The Association of College Unions International, which the UK Cats Den is a part of, defines a poetry slam as a “form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event.”

The poets are scored based on their presentation on a 0.0-10.0 scale.

While association rules dictate that accompaniments such as “props, costumes or (music)” are not allowed, such additions could potentially be allowed at this slam.

“As long as you go up there, be creative and don’t offend the audience, we don’t mind what you do,” Gray said.

Students will be required to sign in before performing, but the winning presentation will also be eligible for prizes, to be judged by Gray and randomly selected audience members.

While they do not know the particular prize in store just yet, “it’ll be something good,” Sloan said.

In the past, winners have received gift cards to services such as Starbucks or iTunes.

American poet Walt Whitman once said, “to have great poets, there must be great audiences.” Sloan echoed this sentiment when speaking about the Poetry Slam.

“Even if people don’t want to come and participate, maybe they’re holding on to their original works and don’t necessarily want to speak about it,” Sloan said. “They can certainly come and watch some of the amazing poets UK has to offer.”