Lyric hosts Verses Grand Poetry Slam for student poets


The Appalachian Online

Aleah Warner

Appalachian State University’s spoken word poetry club, Lyric, will ring in the new semester with its first annual Grand Poetry Slam on Jan. 27 at The Local in downtown Boone.

Students competing in the Grand Poetry Slam will have the opportunity to compete against one another for a spot on Verses, Appalachian’s only competitive poetry slam club and team.

The 12 top scoring poets from previous slams hosted by Lyric will be presenting original works to be judged by randomly selected audience members. Four winners will be selected to join the slam team that will compete at this year’s College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in March at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kip McMillan, a sophomore nursing major and the community organizer of Lyric, said the slam competitions offer a different environment from weekly “open mic” events hosted at Bald Guy Brew, which are more informal and relaxed.

“A poetry slam is a game, basically,” McMillan said. “Poets get together and compete with their poetry, using spoken word as a performance. You get three minutes to spit your stuff and then you get judged.”

Lyric has been hosting poetry slams for almost a year. Since last January, the club has worked to provide a place where students can express themselves and improve their skills in a fun and welcoming environment.

“We tried to go to CUPSI last year and didn’t have the funds or the experience necessary, so the fact that it’s finally happening is super exciting for everyone, but especially those involved [from] last year,” sophomore English major and Grand Poetry Slam contestant Barry Jones said.

Shane “Kermit” Margeson, a senior English major who will be competing in the Grand Poetry Slam, said this will be the first year that a slam team will represent Appalachian State University at CUPSI, and he hopes the momentum will continue so they can send a better team year after year.

“The best part of the slams is hearing the poets’ work,” Margeson said. “These are normal people who live, laugh and play in the same town as us, but when they perform a truly impressive poem, they seem superhuman. They move the whole room with only their voice and their wit.”

Story: Aleah Warner, Intern A&E Reporter