This past Friday, the English and Drama Studies Society (EDSS) threw their annual Slam & Chill event at the Blind Duck Pub.
The evening was relaxed and didn’t adhere to a strict time schedule. Though the event started at 7 p.m., the performers took the stage around 8 p.m.
The stage saw several talented performers that night.
Pamela Price performed first with a poem about identity and the pressures of growing up. Latisha Lobban recited a poem called “Best Friend” about the pain of unrequited love mixed with the hope and happiness that comes with friendship. Maleeha Baig performed a poem called Forgotten. Baig detailed a bit of history for her poetry and mentioned that her slam poems all begin with “Mama always says” to pay homage to the lessons that her mother has taught her over the years. Baig touched on a topic that many would identify with—the hurt of being forgotten as we move on, meeting new people, and leaving some behind. Her poem used repetition in an effective way to add rhythm to the piece. She paced her poem well and it was a joy to listen to.
The next performer interpreted the slam poem in a gripping way. The audience was confused as Daniel Omiyi took the stage and began to move the furniture. He performed his poem, “Love’s Ways,” as a three-part series.
The first part was the reading of the poem itself. The poem spoke to the way that people interpret love differently as they experience new things. He highlighted how love starts out soft and sweet, and can morph into a thing of bitterness and mistrust, that must be given and received with control and care.
For the second part, Omiyi danced for the audience. He played a Spanish song and performed smooth movements that flowed with the music. His dance was delicate just like his poem.
For third part of Omiyi’s performance he sat on a chair and improvised a story with a strong emphasis on happiness. To steer away from negativity, Daniel asked for prompts to create a happy story. Omiyi created a story from love, friendship, and summer days. His story was admittedly mundane, but he was a joy to watch. His voice lulled and I felt as though I was watching an ASMR video with the soft music he played in the back. He acted out multiple parts and made his show about movement, happiness, and reverence for the small things.
Zaynab Alkari performed a stunning slam poem about her complicated relationship with boys. Her nuanced approach to her attitude towards men was refreshing. There were so many lines that hit the crowd with so much intensity that there were snaps flying through the air as she spoke relevant truths. One line that stood out to me was: “I might as well be deaf and blind—that’ll turn them on.” This was in reference to the persistence of men wanting women to be objects to be viewed. The phrasing in Zainab’s piece was original and powerful. I was enticed with her the entire time she was on stage.
The structured portion of the evening wrapped up with the head of the EDSS, Christina Khokhar, reading a sweet rhyming poem about what poetry means to her.
She then opened up the stage to anyone who wanted to share original or published poetry. Ali Taha read “The Children’s Hour” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Yasmeen Alkoka read a motivational piece she wrote that originated as a text to a friend.
The night was calm and fun. It was a great place to see some talented performers, have a few munchies, and get to know people on campus.