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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Campus organizations host slam poetry session

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LaNyah Sabb-Toombs ’27 presents her writing at Slam Poetry Night, Feb. 9. PHOTO: MAURITZ WILSHUSEN ’27/THE HAWK

The Black Student Union (BSU) partnered with the SJU Writing Center and Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, to host the second annual Slam Poetry Night in the Center for Inclusion and Diversity (CID) Lounge Feb. 9.

About 30 students gathered to listen to several people present slam poetry, performing original poems to an audience who responded with snapping fingers.

Taryn Bellamy ’24, BSU publicist and a Writing Center tutor, planned the event and said she wanted to open the concept to include any kind of writing so that participants could express themselves more freely.

“In my head, slam poetry is a kind of a space to share words, however they may look to you,” Bellamy said. “Whether that’s music, whether that’s poetry with traditional rhyming.”

LaNyah Sabb-Toombs ’27, a BSU member who shared a poem, said the event was also a way to write about things that one cannot talk to others about.

“Nobody really has to see it, nobody really has to hear it, but when you do speak about it, it takes off so much stress, and that’s what slam poetry means to me,” Sabb-Toombs said, “just peace and calmness and having greatness towards yourself.”

Participants in the event had the option to read original creative writing and poetry, or share a work that resonated with them. Jaylah Williams ’24 said slam poetry can allow people to let go of their emotions and share things others might relate to but are unsure how to vocalize.

“I feel like it creates a space where I feel like I’m heard,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of creative people in one room, and you are able to be yourself and express yourself however you want to without being judged.”

According to Imani Briscoe ’17, M.B.A. ’23, experiential programmer for the CID, the purpose of the CID is to build community for underrepresented students at St. Joe’s, which is why this event was important.

“What the BSU is doing in the Slam Poetry Night is bringing conversations from current day experiences, whether it be things from home, things on a larger scale, things at St. Joe’s,” Briscoe said. “They are making a current conversation and trying to connect with one another in that way.”

Bellamy said the slam poetry event she planned in 2023 had a good turnout, so she decided to have the event again.

“I feel like people feel comfortable in this space, the Center for Inclusion and Diversity, so I think it’s another way to feel at home for people,” Bellamy said. “If people are showing up, clearly it’s doing something for them, which I love to see.”

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