The Local hosts poetry slam night


The host of The Local’s Poetry Slam invites finalists to the stage while the winners are announced. This was The Local’s first poetry slam of the season. | Photo by: Monique Rivera

Matthias Kramer

The Local hosted its first poetry slam night of the semester Tuesday in conjunction with LYRIC, Appalachian State University’s spoken word poetry club. The finalists of the three-round competition included Jenna Calamai in third place, Katie “KT” Pate in second place, and winner Kip McMillan.

The competition started with 12 participants. Each poet performed their own unique poetry and five audience members rated the performances on a scale of one to 10, narrowing the list of competitors each round. 

Audience member and a biology graduate student Brian Bonville said, “most of the poetry [performed at The Local] is about social issues, lifestyle issues or life experiences.”

Competitor Talha Salman said slam poetry is about “trying to get your message across, entertaining the crowd and bringing to light a topic that people probably would have never thought about.”

Topics of the night ranged from sex to drugs, interactions with people, and social issues, “basically whatever people feel strongly about,” Salman said.

Katie Pate, the second place finisher and sophomore at App State, identifies stagecraft as the most important aspect o  audience in mind.”

Pate chose to read poems about “feminism and women’s politics, ‘Black lives matter,’ and being from a home but not necessarily missing it,” she said. To get high scores, Pate said, you have to “entertain [the audience].”

Pate has been writing poetry her whole life, she said.

Third place finisher Jenna Calamai, a graduate student in the English department at App, had something unique in mind for her poems.

“My style is not anywhere close to other slam poetry,” she said. Instead of social issues, Calamai told a story of World War II-era Japan.

“I was writing prose [before poetry],” Calamai said. “I am very into historic documentations and stories. A lot of my poems are stories, which, at this point, is more interesting than reading my own life.”

The title of her poem is “Drowning City” and was inspired by the scene from the movie adaptation of novel “Memoirs of a Geisha,” she said, when “[Sayuri Nitta] was cleaning silk in the

Calamai hopes to “encourage the younger students to get way more involved in

Matthias Kramer, Intern A&E Reporter