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INK slam poetry celebrates power of words

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By Lauren Petite

Geoghegan discusses her Mario Kart series (Darby VanDeVeen / Staff Photographer).

Creative writers rejoiced as INK celebrated another poetry slam on Sept. 26 in the Bliss Hall lounge.

The club’s publicist and emcee of the event, a junior English major Nicole Zamlout, chose audience members to be judges, who sat in the front of the room to critique and pick the winner of the night.

Once judges were chosen, members of INK began to read their poetry aloud and were allotted 10 minutes each to present their work. 

As the night went on, it was evident that all of the writers shared a similar passion towards their work, and strived to support one another through each poem. However, the performers had their own ways of crafting and presenting their work. 

“I call my poems jokes that go a little too far,” said Caroline Geoghegan, a freshman English and secondary education dual major, who participated in the poetry slam.

Geoghegan’s current project is crafting a poem for each track on Mario Kart. She recited a poem from the working collection at the slam, titled “Delfino Square.”

“I like making poetry that people can find humor and sadness in,” said Geoghegan, whose series of poems delves into deeper topics under the guise of the family friendly video game. 

Some writers even found inspiration for their poetry through other written works that motivated them. 

Up next to perform was junior English major Dylan Sepulveda. One of his works for the night was titled “I love you,” which was greatly inspired by “Why Can’t Men Say ‘I Love You’ To Each Other,” an essay written by Ricardo F. Jaramillo for The New York Times Modern Love essay contest. 

The Modern Love selection of The New York Times consists of weekly essays that discuss the ever-changing aspects of love. The article consists of the author telling his story, and recounting how uncomfortable he and his fellow childhood friends felt about saying “I love you” to one another.

“When men say ‘I love you’ to another male friend, there is always the need to add a ‘bro’ or ‘man’ to the end of it,” Sepulveda said.

In working to erase these stigmas, Sepulveda used his work not only to ponder this question himself, but also to bring awareness of this quandary to the audience.

“I feel like that’s kind of stifling, like we are afraid to say ‘I love you’ to each other,” Sepulveda said.

Other highlights from Sepulveda included “Like a Boy, Still,” and “Conan: The Bowling Barbarian,” which all recounted anecdotes from small snippets of his life.

To wrap up the night Briar Peng, a senior English and secondary education major and president of INK, recited her poetry from her working repertoire, including a memorable rendition of the classic “My Favorite Things,” where she sometimes sarcastically described her thought process. 

Before Zamlout presented her final remarks, she recited a poem that she had memorized for a while about her voice being constantly silenced by the world around her. Zamlout used her poetry as a way to break free from these labels, and be as powerful as the “thunder” she described in her work.

By the night’s end, the judges landed Sepulveda as the winner, to which he graciously thanked everyone in the room for listening to what he had to say.

Through the often personal content of these poems, the performers all agreed that their inspiration for writing wasn’t specific — it could be as arbitrary or as fleeting as a lightning strike.

“I try not to take it too seriously. I try not to focus too much on the technicals — it just comes to me,” Geoghegan said.


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