CPC was rocked on Thursday night by the 2nd Annual Poetry Slam and Multicultural Celebration. Students, faculty, and staff packed the dining hall turned slam stage to see who would bring their best game and take over the title of CPC Slam Poet Champion and celebrate our cultural diversity past and present.
The evening kicked off with a very welcoming international dinner sponsored by CPC’s International Society Club and included the handy work of Tynesha Robinson, Christine Fusselman, Kendra Elliot, and of course, club advisor, Romeo Azondekon. Everyone raved about the international cuisine, going back for second, thirds, and even a couple take-home boxes. Many thanks to the club’s dedicated members and their unending generosity for our student body.
Special thanks goes out to the Drama Club whose faculty advisor, Janet Bixler, helped to organize the event. The Drama Club helped with set-up and clean-up, and several of its members performed in the contest. The Central Pen E-zine would also like to thank Danielle Klebes and Student Activities for helping to plan the event and being the evening’s musical director.
In addition to the international fare, students from Professor Maria James-Thiaw‘s Contemporary Writers of Color course created displays representing the writers they had been studying. Students on hand included Giancarlo VanWright, Tony Noon, Ricky Cousar, Byron Guinyard, Nathan Reichert, and Michael Troutman, and a special thanks to the rest of the class including Kareem Aiken, Robert Ashkenes, Monica Hacker, Tamirra Milton, and Jamar Royster, for their behind-the-scenes work.
The Slam kicked off with a short poem from Maria James-Thiaw, “I am a poem,” which immediately set the tone and texture for the night’s contestants. She welcomed our two hosts, Jade Harper and Steve “Steve-O” Osango, whose enthusiasm, humor, and passion kept the crowd buzzing all night. The hosts introduced the judges, which included CPC’s own Maria James-Thiaw, local poet Dustin Nispel, student judge Ricky Cousar, and CPC’s Melissa Wehler.
Last year’s winner, Derrick “Muff” Johnson, was on hand to give support to the contestants telling them to ‘be their best’ and ‘have fun.’ We were also excited to have Christine Lincoln, the current poet laureate of York who performed a poem later on in the evening that welcomed new poetic talent into the fold.
Local slam poet and author, Dustin Nispel, blessed the mic with two poems that had the audience snapping, clapping, laughing, and hooting. Nispel played double-duty as both guest present and celebrity judge. Nispel brought copies of his new book, The Tower, is a ‘blending of Spoken Word and poetry,’ which was quickly buzzed by the contestants and the crowd.
After Nispel warmed up the mic, the evening was turned over to the students. One-by-one students stepped to the mic to pour our their passion in the hope of winning the $100 grand prize and the right to the title CPC Slam Champion.
TJ Blackwell, President of the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club, kicked off the evening’s events followed by a slew of newcomers. Huge congrats to Sakinah Aziz, Aliah Speights, Ayana Addison, and Cody Robinson for blessing the mic. Performers talked of love and loss, of growing up and moving on, and of triumphs and struggles in world that seems all too often stacked against them. The audience gave snaps and claps as the results of the performances were announced.
After a dozen performances, three winners pulled away from the others:
3rd Prize: Lakeia Washington
2nd Place: Teta Gaye
1st Place: Isaiah Isley
A special thank you to everyone who helped to bring the event to life whether that was organizing, planning, watching, or blessing the mic!