Slam Poets: Tell Us How To Throw Down!

Maria James-Thiaw asked the local slam community advice on how to throw down at a slam contest.  This is what they told us!


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“Practice. Some practice is better than none.”–Marilyn Kallet

“Winning the slam will never help you win yourself. Win who you are, your purpose.That will always remain in your hands.  So always carry your purpose to the stage with you. ” –Slangston Hughes


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“Romance the mic and believe that no one else can do that better than you! If you focus on your own performance, there will be no room for comparing yourself to anyone else (which is a BIG wagging, shake-a-finger NO NO!).” –Quill Reed

“…Just like entering the hundred yard dash or a boxing match, you go in to win, connect and show them what you’re really made of figuratively.”–Femi Drifish


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“Don’t be self-conscious about your performance — don’t even think about it as a performance, but as you speaking your heart to friends. Everyone supports one another in these. Go!”–Michael Lear-Olimpi

“Slam because you have a story to tell. A poem you have to share. An experience someone else might need to hear on any given Tuesday.” —Dawn Saylor


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…and of course, don’t forget to sign up for the 3rd Annual Poetry Slam.  Get the details here.

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Get Ready to SLAM!

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Come on out to the 3rd Annual Poetry Slam brought to you by the Central Pen Literary E-zine and Professor Maria Thiaw’s Contemporary American Writer’s of Color class to hear some good words or give some- or both! A poetry slam is a bit of a competition, but a lot of love. Poets are judged by their writing style and their performance ability.

Central Penn alumna Shonyah Hawkins will MC the event and poets will be judged by the esteemed spoken word artist Ladi Glori along with other faculty and students.

The slam will be held in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre on the Summerdale campus Thursday, September 3rd at 7:00 pm. Oh yeah, and it’s FREE!

If you’re interested in competing send your name, your contact information, and the name of your poem to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu. Be sure to hurry, spots are limited! Poets will have 3 minutes to speak. All you need to bring is yourself and your poem.  And as if sharing your poem isn’t enough, $100 goes to first place, $50 goes to second place, and $25 goes to third place.

 

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Everyday I’m Scribblin’

I was recently reminded of a harsh reality about writing: the only way to write, unfortunately, is to write. An obvious, simple, yet (for me, anyway) an f-ing elusive truth, and always easier said than done.

At the end of May, I experienced a huge setback with my PhD dissertation (a major research project estimated to run 200+ pages), which forced me to draft a lot of material in a short amount of time–40,000 words in four weeks! And I’m proud to report that I met that goal–and then some.

Snip20150709_53Now, what I ended up with wasn’t highly polished, carefully edited prose. Far from it. But I did get exactly what I needed: a finished first draft, always the hardest part of the writing process for me, which I now can spend a few weeks revising before submitting to my dissertation committee at Duquesne University at the end of July.

How did I achieve this Sisyphusean feat–a trip to my local crossroads at midnight? Nope–no Satanic bargains for me, thank you very much. I just stopped thinking (ie judging myself negatively) and started writing. I broke the project into small, daily writing goals: 1600 words a day, every day–no matter how tired, or how frustrated, or how bored, or how anxious I was. Most professional writers I know–and all of the “writers on writing” books I’ve read–say the same thing: daily, regimented writing routines are how writing happens. Continue reading

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$100.00 to go to Poetry Slam Champion – Sign-Up Today!

The 3rd Annual Poetry Slam will be held on Thursday, September 3rd in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on Central Penn College’s Summerdale campus. This event will be hosted by the Central Pen Literary E-zine and Professor Maria Thiaw’s Contemporary American Writer’s Of Color class. The first place slam-master will walk away with a cool $100.00. There are second and third place prizes as well.

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The Slam will be judged by students, faculty and Baltimore spoken word powerhouse, Ladi Glori. Central Penn alumna, Shonyah Hawkins will M.C. the free event.  Performers must be students or alumni of Central Penn College and can sign up by emailing thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu no later than August 15. Spots are limited, so don’t delay.

What’s a Poetry Slam?

A poetry slam is a contest in which poets are judged by both their writing style and performance ability. Poets don’t merely ‘read’ their original work, but they deliver it with dramatic flair. Since no one sees the work on paper, slam poets don’t have to worry about being grammatically correct or holding to a traditional form. Poetry slams are a national pastime that has brought the art of poetry off the page and out of the classroom for regular people to enjoy.

Are there rules?

Although the rules of grammar and form are relaxed in a slam, wordsmiths must remember these tips for success:

No props but the poem and the mic!

The first rule of a poetry slam is that there are no props allowed. You can’t talk to an empty chair, hold a dummy, or throw a paper airplane. It is just you, the word and the mic.   For this particular slam you are allowed to have your poem on paper, however most slam champions memorize their pieces and perform them with power.

No disclaimers!

Do not explain your inspiration, apologize, or give a soliloquy about the piece you are about to perform. You only have 3 minutes and the timer starts when you open your mouth.

Respect the Mic!

Although a vast array of once taboo subjects are welcomed in poetry slams, hatred, misogyny and homophobia are not. Please stay away from racial slurs, anti-gay rhetoric or religion bashing. This is a multicultural event. Let’s celebrate the art of the spoken word together!

How Can I Be Down?

So you want to watch the slam? Show up to the Capital BlueCross Theatre in the Underground on the Summerdale campus on Thursday, September 3 at 7 pm to support your friends. Give them lots of love, snaps and claps when they’re on stage.

Oh, you want to walk away with $100.00 and some Central Penn swag? Sign up to perform by sending an email to thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu by August 15. Send us your name, contact information and the name of your poem.

Got Any Tips?

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Send us your seasonal shots!

Spillway; Pine Grove Furance State Park

Spillway; Pine Grove Furnace State Park; Dr. Melissa Wehler

At The Central Pen, we are committed to all types of art and artists, including the visual arts.  We believe that creative expression, no matter the medium, has an important place in our education and in our lives.   Use our ‘Submission’ page to submit your best seasonal shots!

 

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by | August 1, 2015 · 8:00 am

Paperback Book Day

National Paperback Book Day

Join The Central Pen in celebrating Paperback Book Day!  On July 30, pick up your favorite paperback (or maybe choose a new favorite!) from your local library or bookstore.

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by | July 30, 2015 · 8:00 am

The Professional Writer: Bridging the Gap between Page and Stage with Carla Christopher

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Central Pennsylvania’s arts scene is alive and thriving because it is held up by pillars like professional writer, Carla Christopher, York city’s Arts & Culture Liaison and host of Culture & Main. Carla is no stranger to Central Penn College. When she was Poet Laureate of York, PA she performed here in celebration of “Poem in Your Pocket Day, 2013.” Her small press, Poem Sugar, has published the works of some of our faculty and staff and she even gave our Corporate Communications students a taste of real world broadcasting by inviting them to a taping of her TV Show, Culture and Main. One of those students, Amanda Kloehr, read her poetry on the show.

This artistic entrepreneur is the glue that keeps Central PA’s cultural scene together. That is no easy task, especially when there are conflicts even within specific artistic genres. Take poetry for example, where traditional “page” poets and stage performers fight for domination, each one seeing their style as the only right way to do poetry. Regardless of this ongoing debate, Carla Christopher is a bridge between the two.

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It’s Time to SLAM

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Who: The Knight Writers and The Central Pen E-Zine

When: September 3rd @ 7pm

Where: The Capital Blue Cross Theatre

WHY: 

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Writer’s Profile: Bronwen Carlyle Talks About Season of Shadow

unnamedOur writer’s profile focuses on Bronwen Carlyle whose new book, Season of Shadow (The Equinox Chronicles Book 1), was recently published through the Amazon Kindle store.  Carlyle was born in Augusta and grew up in North Georgia. As a young girl, she spent time with the creatures, gods, warriors, and sages found in the pages of Irish mythology and fairy tales, and has been weaving stories ever since. She currently lives near Pittsburgh, where you can find her dreaming up worlds and writing them down.  You can visit her website at www.bronwencarlyle.com, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter @BronwenCarlyle.


unnamed-1First, tell us about your new project.

It’s a young adult novel that takes place in both Georgia and a fantastical realm connected to our own. It follows the story of sixteen-year-old Everly Cotton, who has grown up in foster care, as she is caught in a battle between light and darkness.

[You can watch a trailer for it here.] Continue reading

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Apparition by Dezmyn Edmond

I haven’t talked to or seen my dad in years

Is that weird? A ghost of my past that brings me tears?

One of my greatest fears is crying in front of people,

But who’s going to hear me when I’m a spirit, is that believable?

The life of a ghost, I got it genetically from my dad

If I told my mom that, she’d say “it’s just a fad”

She’s a nonbeliever, she doesn’t believe in ghosts

Not believing me or my dad, what a host

Can you be an apparition, but still be afraid of them?

Why am I not normal like the rest of them?

Ghosts scare people, but I’m alienated

I feel the hatred. Not because I’m a ghost, but because I’m a friendly one

Now isn’t that fun? I’m weightless but I feel like I weigh a ton

Like an automaton, an android, a robot

Feel like the world relies on me to save it, like an Autobot

I can now see through my eyelids, so I don’t sleep a wink

Surprised with the lack of sleep that I’m not a psychofink

Why bother try to sleep? It’s irrelevant to me now

I forgot the ability to sleep, so I don’t know how

If you were in my shoes would you feel the same way?

Probably not since I’m a ghost so I don’t wear them anyway

I’m just a shadowy figure lingering in the dark

Trying to make people see me to make my mark

People perform séances just to talk to me

And they always think my services are for free

Because I’m a friendly ghost, but I’m not Casper,

But I’m never happy so I’m not gay, like Family Guy’s Jasper

I can say whatever I want because who listens to what I say?

People noticing I exist? That’ll be the day

I’ll disappear forever into the shadows where I belong

Consumed by hatred and darkness, I knew it all along.


Amani_ZDezmyn Edmond is an accounting major from Toms River, NJ who enjoys writing and performing.  He is an active member of the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club and gave a moving reading of their prize winning poems at the Knight Writer’s “Take a Stand” event in June..

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