Poetry group slams Bowdoin
Here at Bowdoin, a new form of poetry is taking hold. The days of Longfellow and Hawthorne are long gone, and a new group of poets of have emerged: slam poets. They belong to a group called Poeting, founded just three years ago.
Poeting isn't solely about sonnets or haikus. The main focus is on slam poetry. Slam poetry is performance poetry and as Poeting co-founder Alkhaaliq Bashir '05 says, it "brings out the best in a poet. The poems have to be clever, with word play, simile, comedy, rhythm, and rhyme." Because slam poetry is meant to be heard and presented on stage, the poet has to grab the audience effectively.
This art form has certainly grabbed Bashir's attention. He speaks about poetry with intensity and passion, tossing out adjective after adjective in praise to this style of poetry. And apparently, he's not the only one. Poeting is full of people like Bashir.
Bashir, Michael Chan '05, and Walkens Petit-Frere '05 started Poeting as first years in September 2001, when they saw a great need for a poetry group. Chan said that he was in a poetry club in high school and wanted the same thing for Bowdoin. The founders were looking for an opening to express themselves and collaborate with other poets.
Bashir said, "Poeting is a venue, a vehicle for poets to share, to be inspired, to read to an audience." He sees Poeting as a community of support and feedback, not just another campus activity.
Bashir especially appreciates the feedback he receives from the fellow members.
"See, at home, I'd always bug my mom to hear my poems," he said. "Or other people would bug their friends, who aren't as passionate about poetry."
Poeting, however, is a place for all those who care about poetry to come together. Chan sees Poeting serving a twofold purpose at Bowdoin. "Poeting is not just an artistic organization, but a strong political one," he said. "A lot of our poets use poetry as an outlet to express their political views."
At the weekly Saturday meetings in Lamarche Lounge, students gather for workshops. Together, they write poems, share their pieces, and critique each other's work. A typical meeting has about eight to ten students, but the actual size of the group is much larger. Though Poeting members don't always show up for every meeting, they are still active in writing, editing, and performing their pieces for the community.
The next chance for the Bowdoin community to hear their work will be tonight at 9:00 p.m., at Jack Magee's Pub. There, Poeting will host a Poetry Slam. The Slam is a competition where poets take turns presenting their prepared pieces and are judged by five guest judges and also by audience response. Cash prizes will be awarded to winners after two rounds. Poets from Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates will be there. Poeting also invited famous slam poet H'Allah Black to perform as a special guest.