In this episode of The Archive Project, we’ll listen to compositions from several students who participated in the 2016 Verselandia! Poetry Slam Competition, the grand slam of the individual school slams held throughout the year. Touching on such topics as race, gender, loss, and love, these students confront issues that are core to the human experience. The top five winners for the night were:
1st Place: Tea Johnson from Grant High School
2nd Place: Lily Lamadrid from Franklin High School
3rd Place: Alexis Cannard from Roosevelt High School
4th/5th Place (tie): Zoe Stuckless from Wilson High School & Maia Abbruzzese from Lincoln High School
This episode also features an extended interview with Anis Mojgani, the host of the 2016 Verselandia! Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. He is the author of three poetry collections—Songs From Under the River, The Feather Room, and Over the Anvil We Stretch—and a fully illustrated poetry memoir, The Pocketknife Bible.
The majority of us don’t care about poetry, or believe we don’t care about poetry, or don’t believe that it’s something for us—that it’s not something we’re smart enough to understand, that it’s for a very small percentage of people. As opposed to the idea that poetry is simply a tool for explaining what it means to be human—for processing that, for communicating that, for sharing that, and for being shared that with by others.”
“I always fluctuate back and forth between how much I loathe poetry and how much I love it. But one thing I don’t swing back and forth about is how much I love young folks being introduced to poetry, and writing it, and finding their voice through it.”