Writing club hosts first online poetry slam


On January 30, 2021, five poets set to the virtual stage, ready to tackle tough topics such as heartbreak, parental issues, and sexual assault. 

This poetry slam was the second time the Writing club of SHS hosted one, with the other being last year’s school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition. 

The slam started with guest speaker and last year’s Poetry Out Loud school competition winner, Kelsea Rodriguez. Rodrigeuz lead the way with a passionate slam poem about sexual assault and rape survivors. Speaking from her heart, the powerful message of Rodrigeuz’s poem was felt by all the participants. 

Up next was junior Anna Magill, who is vice president of the Writing Club and prose editor of the Radljost Literary Magazine (also under Writing Club). Magill performed, ‘Happy’. 

When looking back on the experience and the poetry slam in general, Magill states, “I loved the different themes of each poem. I think it was really small and more should try out. Talking about your own poem helps boost confidence.”

For sophomore, Luka Sharp, this was his first time writing a slam poem and performing it. He was guided with the help of Writing Club sponsor Tim Collins during the creative writing class, and Writing Club’s president, Alyssa Boos. 

At the end of his performance, he smiled bright, proud of himself. “I was proud of myself for speaking in the poetry slam because I had the courage to perform my poem in front of others, even though I was worried at first, but I’m glad I did it.”

This year, while other clubs were barricaded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Writing Club came in strong, starting the year with a fundraiser called Boograms. These Boograms were poems and bags of candy sold during Halloween time, and students could give them to teachers, themselves, or other students.

The second event Writing Club hosted was the poetry slam, which was more successful than Poetry Out Loud last year. Last year there were three participants and this year there were five, showing an increase in student interest in the club. 

The final event is the Valentines’ Grams, which are poems, boxes of chocolates, or roses, that students can buy.

“I’m overjoyed at the fact that Writing Club is getting more attention, and that people are buying Boograms and Valentines Grams. Even though we only have five people at the poetry slam, I got a lot of emails from interested students, which shows the prosperity of the club,” Alyssa Boos, Writing Club president states. 

The Writing Club plans to expand Boograms and Valentines Grams in the future, and possibly hold a poetry slam that all schools in Topeka, like Washburn Rural, Highland Park, and Topeka West, can attend.