Local poet Joe Davis is organizing the first ever Teen Poetry Slam event, from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Minot State University's Hartnett Hall in the Aleshire Theater.
Minot High School-Magic City Campus language arts teacher Angy Edison said so far about 20 students have signed up for the event. Davis said that's a great number for the first year the event is held.
People who enter will be required to recite their own original works without costumes or props. The entire performance must be under 3 minutes.
Joe Davis, organizer of Minot’s first Teen Poetry Slam event, reads a poem during a rehearsal at Minot High School-Magic City Campus on Tuesday.
Landon Klein, a senior at Minot High School-Magic City Campus, reads a poem during a rehearsal for the Teen Poetry Slam Event on Tuesday at the school.
"People can sing, beat box, rap," said Davis. "Anything fitting the emotion or mood of the poem."
Several seniors at Magic City Campus said they plan to enter the contest.
"I just like writing my own poetry," said senior Austin Rice, who said he started writing this year.
Serena Vetter, also a senior, said she likes the idea of being able to go in front of an audience and share her thoughts and opinions. It might take a little courage to read a poem in front of an audience, but Vetter said she's been performing as a violinist since she was 6.
Though the students aren't planning to beat box or rap, they do plan to read with expression.
"Put a little heart and soul into it," said Vetter.
Senior Landon Klein said he thinks Minot should have more such events.
Davis said prizes, including gift certificates, have been donated by area businesses.
Davis, who performs his own poetry at local events, said he has also been giving presentations on oral poetry to English classes in the area for the last few years. Edison asked him to come and talk to her class to get them excited about poetry. Teens today may not realize that poetry can come alive when it is recited, said Davis, who said there is a long, rich tradition of oral poetry going back to the medieval era when poets recited "Beowulf." The Bible was transmitted orally too, he said.
Davis said he has seen slam poetry events around the country and thought Minot should have one as well. Edison, who was familiar with slam poetry from seeing YouTube videos, was familiar with the art form as well. They have been organizing the event for the past few months.
Nationally known slam poet Big Poppa E, from Wichita, Kan., will be the master of ceremonies and will perform at the event.
"It's really cool that we got him to come," said Davis.
MSU President David Fuller has also agreed to be one of the several judges and will read a passage from his beloved Henry David Thoreau's "Walden," said Davis, who will graduate next month from MSU.
To register for the competition, email Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org