Once a month, the Saturday Night Slam Series welcomes members of the community to submit a three-minute poem to share in front of audience members and randomly chosen judges. The only entry fee is a haiku. During the event, those who submitted a haiku are invited to come and face off in a haiku battle with other poets. At the end of the night, those voted as the “shiniest performers” receive the “shiniest prizes” from a local thrift store.
What started as a small group for people to share their poems has grown into a large gathering with seats filling the room.
BYU junior Jaxon Lowe said he has always enjoyed poetry and decided to attend a poetry slam with some friends with similar interest. Now they all love it, he said.
“Everyone has barriers around their lives. They hide what they’re embarrassed about, what they’re ashamed of and what they’re afraid of, but once a month a group of nonjudgmental people gather together and drop all their barriers,” Lowe said. “At slam poetry, people are more themselves than anywhere. They express what they normally hide and it’s inspiring.”
BYU senior Jaise Pender has also been attending the Saturday Night Slam Series for some time now. Pender said she originally attended a slam poetry night to support a friend, but ended up loving the event’s atmosphere.
“Words are so powerful and seeing how creative poetry slammers are with using words in meaningful ways inspires me to go again,” Pender said.
Slam sessions have different themes, and this month’s theme was related to love. Poets shared their work about topics ranging from relationships to self-love. Poet Juan Garcia took the microphone to share his feelings about the importance of love in families.
Part of the poem he shared said, “With experience, empathy and endless tubs of mint chocolate chip ice cream, we will teach (children) that when we learn to super glue ourselves back together, we can see ourselves not as broken, but more like Picasso — like stained-glass windows,” Garcia said. “We will make our home a chapel that loves the sun. A house full of cemented rocks. A troop battling against sin, who knows that when it wins, redemption has already come paid in its fullness for the humble soldier who presents a broken heart and a contrite spirit and who no longer wants to want to sit in darkness.”
Through the poetry slams, students and community members have the opportunity and outlet to share their own thoughts and ideas in a safe, judgement-free zone. Pender said that although there is a theme, there is always some element everyone can relate to.
“Though the topic was about love and related to Valentine’s Day, there was content about dating, sorrow, growth, self care and spirituality,” Pender said. “I would recommend it to anyone.”