I've never been a big fan of poetry. Ever.
But last year, the Columbus Museum asked me to be one of the judges of its annual Poetry Slam. I told Kaci Kelly of the museum that I really don't like poetry. She said the Slam was different. I said, OK.
And, boy, did I have fun! The poets are high school students who attended a workshop run by poets and museum staff. This year, the poets were Pariah Smith and Chiara Richardson. Both are veteran slam performers. Theyve competed nationally, and I believe Pariah is rated one of the best in the United States. The students looked at specific pieces of art and then spend the next few weeks working on their poems. And not just poems. They have to PERFORM.
Today, the museum celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Slam to a full house.
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There were 13 poets and in a new twist, a team of poets performed together. I really liked the team concept. There were only two teans this year. I bet there will be more next year.
First place went to the team from Spencer High School. The individual winner was Rachel Brown of Chattahoochee County High School. Second and third place went to Spencer's Sahara McCrory and Travis Perry III.
They were very good. Every single one of them.
The emcee, David Britt, I think is his name, reminded the audience that these young people were brave in a way the most people would be terrified. They are young, they are creative and they are performing in front of people. And as you know, most people are afraid of speaking in front of crowds. These kids sure were self-assured.
If Kaci asks me to judge again next year, you'd better believe I'll be there.
I'm still not a poet, nor a fan of poetry. However, I am a fan of the poetry slam. Will I try it? Never. Ever.