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  • Jessica Cortes

The CVCHS Slam Poetry Team Would Like a Word

The CVCHS Slam Poetry Team looks to compete in the Youth Speaks Unified Slam competition in April.

The Youth Speaks Unified Slam is a Bay Area competition restricting performance to four-six students. CV students must perform in multiple rounds with individual and group writing pieces.

The student poets have recently shifted focus to writing more collaborative poetry in anticipation of this requirement, while they focused initially on individual writing and expression.

Meredith Edmonston, a senior on the CVCHS Slam Poetry Team, said, “I’ve enjoyed being given a place to test and cultivate my creativity, as well as to become a better poet and be exposed to cool experiences.”

The team practices weekly on Sundays to workshop writing and practice performance. Casey Gardner, the advisor and team coach, has been coordinating students and the writing process since auditions in September.

Gardner also emphasized the importance of “getting to that point in teamwork where they’re forming poems together, and the hope is the more group pieces they write the more they can take to the stage.”

The upcoming multicultural rally, for instance, was scheduled to feature a group performance by the slam team. Student poets would have had the opportunity to engage a large, live audience and test the cohesion of their performance, but they ultimately withdrew their act in the interest of continued independent practice.

“I don’t have stage fright by any means, nor slam is poetry something that makes me ‘uncomfortable’ to do,” said Sylvain Thurman, a senior on the team, “but I still find myself to have a mix of nervousness and excitement right before a competition.”

“Poetry is very individual, and everyone is accomplishing their own goals,” Gardner notes. However, she hopes to guide students into identifying individual and group goals to the effect of both personal satisfaction and shared achievement. “As a team, they have decided collectively they want to show others their art and hope through their art the audience is getting something out of it.”

The roots of the CVCHS Slam Poetry Team are in the CV Slam Club founded virtually by seniors Elle Fardella and Leah Lopez. The present in-person practices and competition preparation imply significant commitment by these students to realizing the goals Gardner notes.

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