On March 31, GPC Dunwoody was host to some of the college’s finest poets. It was not a typical poetry reading one thinks of upon the mentioning of the word ‘poetry’. Finger-snapping was not used for applause, but rather loud and uproarious laughter and cheering. Also absent, Mike Myers, who was not reading poetry while contemplating whether or not he was married to an axe murderer. No, this scene was different.This was a poetry slam, where poetry meets competition, and where words fly back and forth at a rate that Hartsfield-Jackson International Air Traffic Controllers would find impressive. For those unfamiliar with poetry slams, think of them as a sort of syntactical cocktail – take one part rap battle and two parts improvisational poetry, shake together vigorously until foamy; garnish with style.
Participants were broken up into four teams, with each team having a member of the English Department as its fearless leader. The slam was organized by Dr. Murray and sponsored by the English Department, the SGA, the Honors Program, and the Chattahoochee Review. Atlanta’s own celebrity poet, M. Ayodele Heath, emceed the event. Heath facilitated three one-minute rounds, testing the lyrical finesse of the four groups with such colorful names as the A-Team, Murray Killerz, Culture, and the Destroyers.
The first round consisted of each team creating a ten-line poem with the same ending rhyme pattern think Run DMC “King of Rock.” The Murray Killerz killed it as they dismissed the other poets using rhyme patterns “more complex than ingredients in Spam.”
The second round involved each team providing five imaginary words complete with definitions and practical use in a sentence. History was made as imaginative words such as boregasm, dirty water hotdog, destroyology, and others were introduced to the English language.
Skottay Hernandez and “Johnny B. Goode” took the final round as they rocked the mic, stretching the constraints of both time and space in a no-holds-barred free-style round with each bringing more flow than the Chattahoochee.
The audience declared both the Murray Killerz and the Destroyers the victors.To the English Department, too, went the spoils as the event was a success, showing that poetry is not only seen on the pages of Norton Anthology textbooks, but is rather something very much alive and well.