Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

The Emerson Poetry Project hosts qualifier for slam poetry competition

Kellyn Taylor

The Emerson Poetry Project hosted a slam poetry competition featuring compelling poetic performances from students striving to secure a spot in the final. Amidst the poetic pyrotechnics, seven wordsmiths left it all on the stage. Adding a twist to the tale, the audience played a crucial role as judges, with random attendees wielding the power to decide which poets would advance to the next stage.

In this club, poets share their work and receive feedback from one another. Every Monday at 8 p.m., the E.P.P. hosts an open mic where attendees can read their own poems, perform covers of others’ work, or simply sit back and enjoy.

Every slam competition starts at 9 p.m. when the open mic ends. The slam qualifiers occur roughly every two weeks leading up to the final match.

Despite the competitive nature of this meeting, the audience was made up of other competitors and Emerson students, erupting in cheers and applause after each performance.

“It’s a welcoming and encouraging environment,” says Daisy Macdonald, the E.P.P. Secretary. “Anyone can perform.”

Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in performances or join the audience. This change has made poetry more accessible to individuals with limited prior knowledge of the art. Prior experience in poetry is not required to take part in open mic nights or compete in competitions.

“We pride ourselves on being an accessible space for performance poetry,” E.P.P. President Abbie Langmead said.

The club members not only support each other but also extend their care to poetry communities across the nation. The E.P.P. has provided funding to marginalized slam performers throughout the country and collaborates with youth organizations based in Boston to educate children and young adults about the world of performance poetry.

This safe space empowered several competitors to open up about depression, love, and heartbreak through their poetry.

“We focus on the community we’re building and make sure that it’s a place where we can take care of each other,” Langmead said.

“A good poem simply evokes a feeling,” Langmead said. “You know it in your bones. You know it in your gut when you hear a good poem.”

The highest score was granted to freshman theater and performance major Rainer Pasca. The second-highest score was awarded to junior E.P.P. Social Media Assistant Lily Labella.

On Monday night, Rainer Pasca was crowned the winner of the competition, a poet who embarked on their poetic journey at the tender age of four. Despite their passion igniting at such a young age, the demanding workload and limited free time during high school caused them to temporarily set aside their pen and paper, ceasing frequent writing activities.

“I didn’t have time to write poetry except for when it was 11 p.m., and I was just about to go to bed, and I was feeling too much, and I couldn’t go to bed if I didn’t get it off my chest,” he explains.

During those sleepless nights in high school, Pasca would use poetry as a creative outlet for his overwhelming emotions.

“I would go to my Notes app and just rant,” Pasca said.

Since then, he says his poetry has been his way of venting.

As a theater and performance major, Pasca has nurtured a deep-seated love for the art of performance. Infusing his poetry with a palpable intensity, he aims to evoke a wide spectrum of emotions within his audience. Whether on the stage or through their verses, Pasca’s dedication to profound emotional responses remains unwavering. Their passion for both theater and poetry underscores their commitment to creating powerful

experiences for those who encounter their work.

“I want to share stories,” Pasca said. “I want to take the audience on a journey.”

The E.P.P. has flourished into a passionate community of students who share a profound love for the written and spoken word. Within this circle, the art of reading and writing poetry isn’t just a hobby: it’s a driving force that binds them together.

The next qualifier is scheduled for Oct. 23. Three more qualifiers will follow, building anticipation for the grand finale, the final slam competition on Dec. 4.

Aside from open mics, the E.P.P. is gearing up for a special Halloween event, promising a thrilling blend of the eerie and the poetic. Additionally, an exciting collaboration with Concrete Literary Magazine is in the works, ensuring that there’s no shortage of captivating literary experiences in the upcoming months.

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About the Contributor
Margaux Jubin
Margaux Jubin, Staff Writer
Margaux Jubin is a sophomore journalism major from Los Angeles, California. She is currently a Staff Writer for the Berkeley Beacon. Outside The Beacon, Margaux loves live music, hanging out with friends, and spending time in nature.

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