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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Slam Society Holds First Slam of the Semester

On Nov. 6, a collection of incredibly talented students with a passion for poetry gathered in the Harbor Gallery of the McCormack building for the University of Massachusetts Boston Slam Society’s first slam of the semester.

Headed by Kenzie Hurder, Beighley Weiss, and Yasmin Bailey, the Slam Society is devoted to the art of performed, spoken poetry, commonly referred to as slam poetry. The club isn’t settling solely on almost monthly slam events at the Harbor Gallery either—they have their sights set on assembling a team and sending them to compete in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, better known as CUPSI. Just last year, the organization sent members to Chicago, Illinois, to compete. This coming spring, CUPSI is set to occur in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The evening kicked off at 4 p.m. with an open mic, a chance for anyone to read their work whether it’s old or new. This portion of the event was an opportunity for less experienced or perhaps more nervous attendees to take the stage, sans the pressure of competition. This part was first-come, first-serve, and not one speaker failed to deliver. Poets that spoke were filled with zeal—it was clear to the audience that everyone in the club truly enjoys performing and sharing their art with others. A total of six UMass Boston students read original pieces aloud, garnering much applause and support from their peers.

Following a brief intermission, during which pizza, cake, and refreshments were provided, the Slam Society welcomed featured guest George Abraham. A famous poet of Palestinian-American descent, he has forged a name for himself as an activist for human rights. He participated in CUPSI a total of three times during his time in college, taking second place in 2016 out of 68 other candidates. In 2017, he was named “Best Poet” and is the author of “al youm: for yesterday and her inherited traumas.” 2019 is set to see his second chapbook, “the specimen’s apology.”

He has come to Boston in pursuit of an engineering Ph.D. at Harvard University, hence his appearance as special guest. For nearly an hour, Abraham performed multiple assorted works, touching upon mental health issues, growing up Palestinian, sexuality, and sexual trauma. His voice filled the room, thick with emotion, captivating his audience effortlessly.

The third portion of the evening was devoted to the slam itself. Consisting of three rounds of competition, participants are required to have three poems at the ready in the event that they make it to the third and final round. Once again, six poets signed on, two were eliminated after the first and second rounds before the winner was determined in the third. The competition was judged by three select judges, each giving a poem a score of 1-10. The poems were all original, never shying away from sensitive topics.

Sophomore Lorraine Kanyike was crowned the winner, securing her spot on the team destined for the CUPSI this spring. The next slam event will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 4:00 pm in the Harbor Gallery. Everyone and anyone is encouraged to attend and experience a live exhibition of art, courtesy of the UMass Boston Slam Society.