Grade 10 student Ainslie Glass will be representing Burnsview Secondary at this year’s Hullabaloo, the annual youth poetry festival and competition in Vancouver. (Saša Lakić photo)
Burnsview Secondary’s best slam poets are again off to Hullabaloo to face Metro Vancouver’s top performers.
Original article by Saša Lakić, North Delta Reporter
The school held a competition last month to determine who will make the school’s slam poetry team and go on to compete at Hullabaloo, the annual youth poetry festival and competition taking place in April in Vancouver.
What makes slam poetry — a form of spoken word performance — different from other types of poetry, Burnsview drama and creative writing teacher Leslie Stark explained, is that it’s immediate and the audience needs to respond to it, which can be by hooting or snapping their fingers in agreement with performer’s point. What is normally considered heckling at other kinds of performances is encouraged in slam poetry.
“It’s not something you go and think about for a while, [it’s] something you respond to viscerally and immediately,” she noted. “I think the audience is meant to connect to it right away rather than contemplate it.”
Stark has been teaching slam poetry at the school for seven years. She said spoken word provides youth a voice to speak about issues they would otherwise not necessarily share.
“Anything from mental health issues, to relationships with the parents, to political issues, to very personal things,” Stark said. “It really allows them the chance to express their voice in their own way, and their perspective.”
Grade 11 student Ainslie Glass, one of the team’s returning members, told the Reporter she has learned how memorizing a poem can help her perform with more emotion, making it more poignant and impactful for the audience. Stylistically, she has also learned to better use imagery in her pieces.
“What I saw at the school was a very small amount of what the poetry world is, so getting to Hullabaloo and seeing hundreds of poets from different places and different writing styles, I learned a lot from that, ” the 16-year-old said.
Glass began writing poetry when she was little, but the first time something emotional came out on paper was after experiencing turmoil in her family last year. Since then, she said, she has been learning to channel her pain into her writing.