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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.


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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It’s Time to SLAM


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

When: September 3rd @ 7pm

Where: The Capital Blue Cross Theatre



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Introducing the 2015 Central Pen Poetry Prize Winners!

WaltPoetryContestFlierThis spring The Central Pen Literary E-zine hosted its 6th Annual Poetry Competition. This annual writing contest is sponsored by The Academy of American Poets, a national organization whose chancellor is Juan Felipe Herrera, the Poet Laureate of the United States. The first place winner received $100.00 and a year’s membership into the Academy.

The winners were:
1st Place: Roman Alcazar for Reception of Conception
2nd Place: Ayana Addisonfor Rep My City
3rd Place: Dezmyn Edmond for Apparition

First place winner Roman Alcazar is a Corporate Communications major with a background in radio. He’s also a proud dad-to-be. Philadelphia native, Ayana Addison has been writing poetry for years and studied under JusGreg (aka Greg Corbin,) the award-winning spoken word artist and teacher from HBO’s Brave New Voices. Dezmyn Edmond is an accounting major from Toms River, NJ who enjoys writing and performing.  Both Ayana and Dezmyn are active members of the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club.  Roman and Dezmyn gave moving readings of their prize winning poems at the Knight Writer’s “Take a Stand” event in June.  The contest is coordinated by Professor Maria Thiaw and the judges are literary enthusiasts and poets from the Central Penn College and community.

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Knight Writers “Take a Stand” with spoken word phenom, Ladi Glori!

Knight Writers flier w tree - APPROVED

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Baltimore-based Poet and CPC alumni to join Knight Writers for Spoken Word Extravaganza

Amani_ZOn Thursday, June 4th at 7:00 PM in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre, The Knight Writers, Central Penn College’s creative writing club, will take you on an extraordinary journey  entitled “Take a Stand” featuring the award winning Baltimore-based spoken word artist, Ladi Glori. This event is free and open to the public, however, donations are encouraged.

Too often, society overlooks creative expression, but Central Penn embraces artistic freedom.  In celebration, the Knight Writers are proud to present a smorgasbord of poets including founding Knight Writers president, Greg Jones, and alumni members Jordan Parish, and Ashley McGowan. Current Knight Writers will also recite their original performance poems.  Knight Writers founder and advisor, Professor Maria Thiaw, a published author and seasoned performance poet, will emcee the event.   LadiGlori

Ladi Glori is an emcee, actress, author, and activist that has been performing on stage since 2009. In 2011, she released a hip-hop/spoken word CD called “Mute the Background.” She also released her book, Ms. Read the Plight of a Poet, last August. These products will be available for purchase at “Take A Stand,” and Ladi Glori will be available to autograph them.

If you wish to join this thriving creative club in its celebration of the arts, then TAKE A STAND with the Knight Writers and Ladi Glori on Thursday, June 4th at 7 PM in the Capital Blue Cross Theatre, located in the Underground on Central Penn College’s Summerdale campus. For more information, contact Professor Maria Thiaw at mariathiaw@centralpenn.edu or 717-728-2524.Knight Writers

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The Knight Writers! Central Penn College’s Creative Writing Club

Spring has sprung and Central Penn College’s creative writing club, The Knight Writers, is geared up for an exciting term filled with creative activities. Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, April 9th at 4:00 pm in Bollinger Hall. All are welcome.


The Central Pen Poetry Contest!


The month of April is inspiring, not only because of the new sights, sounds and smells of Spring, but because April is National Poetry Month. This is the month we celebrate all kinds of poetry, from Shakespeare to spoken word. It is the time to come to Knight Writers’ meetings and put pen to paper (or text to phone, whatever the case may be!) In fact, this month students can submit their poetry to Thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu for The Fifth Annual Central Pen Poetry Contest. The first place winner will receive $100 and a membership in the Academy of American Poets. Poems can be of any length or subject matter, but must be the student’s original work. Hurry! Submissions are due April 26th. For more information, contact Professor Maria Thiaw.

April doesn’t hold the cornerstone on literary activity, however. On Saturday, May 2nd, Central Penn poets and Knight Writers will be performing at the Amani Festival, an annual multicultural festival held in downtown Carlisle, PA. The event will feature vendors, cultural acts and some of Central PA’s top performance poets including Dustin Nispel, Carla Christopher and Shaashawn Dial. The poetry section will be hosted by Maria (James) Thiaw and Corporate Communications major, Shonyah Hawkins. Poetry books and CDs will be on sale. The festival goes on from 10 – 4 but the Knight Writers are on at 12. Come out and show your support!

On June 4th, you can join us for “Take A Stand,” a theatrical production celebrating the arts. More info will be out on this event very soon. To get the first scoop on all of our activities and events, be sure to join us for our meetings Thursday afternoons at 4:00 pm in Bollinger Hall, room 51 starting April 9th!

For a calendar of Central PA poetry events for National Poetry Month, visit www.thetrianglepa.com.

Don’t just be a writer. Be a Knight Writer!


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The SLAM Returns to CPC

Slam Audience

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.

Dinner ServiceThe 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.

330 Students

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 GuinyardNathan 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 Hosts! Jade and Steve-O


Maria James-Thiaw

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.

IMG_4695Last 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.

Dustin Nispel

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

Lakeia Washington


2nd Place: Teta Gaye

Teta Gaye

1st Place: Isaiah Isley

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!

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Poetry Slam: Press Annoucement

2nd Annual Poetry Slam and Multicultural Event

Poet Slam[Summerdale]On Thursday, August 28th at 7:00 PM in Scoozis Café, the Central Pen Literary E-zine will present its second annual Poetry Slam & Multicultural Event. This FREE poetic competition will be M.C.ed by 2014 Central Pen Poetry Prize winner, Jade Harper, and Drama Club member, Jamar Royster. Students will have the opportunity to win cash for poetic performances. Local slam winner and published author, Dustin Nispel, will be one of the judges and his new book, The Tower, will be available for sale and signing.


“Poetry slams make poems leap off the page! They bring poems to life for the common person. Poems can be about virtually any subject and poets have 3 minutes to drop it like it’s hot,” says 3-time slam winner, Professor Maria Thiaw. “They just have to remember that they’ll be disqualified for going over time, so no disclaimers or apologies!”


Poetry Slams were developed in the 1990’s at the Green Mill in Chicago and have since gone international. In a slam, poets perform their work in 3 minutes or less with no props.  In national slams poems are recited from memory, but for this event, students will be able to use a reading script.


“I’d just be sure that they can see their poem’” warns Central Pen editor, Dr. Melisssa Wehler, “Small print on a cell phone in a dim room may get in the way of a powerful performance.”


Four judges (2 students and 2 professional poets) will determine who will walk away with the prize money and Central Penn swag! The first place winner will receive $100, while second place will get $50 and third will win $25. The winners will be promoted in The Central Pen e-zine and invited to perform their award-winning poems at the [K]Night of Theatrics, on October 9th, the 1st event for the Underground’s new theatre!

The International Society will be providing an assortment of cultural foods at the event, and drinks will be available from Scoozi’s Café, so students can nourish their bellies as well as their minds!


Students that wish to compete can pre-register by emailing The Central Pen at thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu.  Registration will be available at the door as well, but space is limited. Be sure to sign up now.

The event is a group effort between the Central Pen staff, the new Central Penn Players Drama Club, the International Society and Professor Maria Thiaw’s HUM330 Contemporary American Writers of Color Class.

The Central Pen is a literary e-zine edited by Dr. Melissa Wehler and Professor Maria Thiaw. Check out the latest issue here.  For more information or to reserve your performance spot, contact thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu today.

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It’s almost time for THE SLAM! Are you ready?

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam Competition is almost here, and we’re looking for CPC poets to bring their A game.  

Poetry SlamTo get you ready to rock the stage, check out how some other poets have brought the slam:

How will you slam?

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Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop Flyer

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam is almost here!  Get ready to bring your best with our poetry workshop hosted by The Central Pen’s own Maria Thiaw.  We’ll be talking about performance and poetry, tips and tricks for giving your best performance, and of course, how to SLAM!


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