Spring Slam brings poetry to CWRU

Anne Nickoloff, Music Reporter

Enthusiasm for English is not exactly prominent at Case Western, but tonight it will undergo a revival of sorts thanks to Spring Slam Nite 2013.

This event is not an average poetry slam… though there really is no such thing as an ‘average’ poetry slam. Sarah Jawhari, both President of Sigma Tau Delta and Editor-in-Chief of the Case Reserve Review, knows students could bring almost anything to the table.

“Though the word ‘slam’ suggests beat poetry and spoken word, we encourage all writers to read anything they want, as long as it’s within five minutes,” said Jawhari. “We’ve had people recite monologues from plays, short prose pieces and poems that belong to others- with the proper credit given, of course.”

The event is student run, coordinated by the three prominent English groups on campus: the Case Reserve Review, Sigma Tau Delta and Ars Poetica.
Jawhari, who will be functioning as emcee at the event, is very excited to welcome interested writers. “It’s a great time even if you don’t want to read, or if you don’t have anything to read. Listening to others perform is some good old-school entertainment,” she said.

Other event helpers are also very open to hearing some fresh work. “We as poets could never deny anyone the opportunity to voice their poetry for our members,” said TJ Madden, President and co-founder of Ars Poetica.

The event is certainly less demanding compared to other activities put on at Case. “The slam is a really relaxed event,” said Sigma Tau Delta Secretary Owen Bell. “You don’t need to tell us in advance if you want to perform; just show up.”

Bell knows that Spring Slam Nite, just the second poetry slam thrown this year, may be unpredictable. “We had all kinds of stuff last semester. Love poems, nature poems, poems about I don’t know what. One guy even did a free style rap while another guy beat boxed,” he said.

Last semester’s slam’s success was considerable. “I would say most people there performed at least once and nobody went home unhappy,” said Bell.
The groups are trying to do at least one slam a semester, but will increase the frequency of the event if their popularity continues to grow.

All event coordinators would like to see the slams’ popularity spread. Madden especially loves to watch new poets read surprisingly great work at the slams. “It’s an utterly edge-of-my seat type feeling that compels me to find that poet after the slam and congratulate their intellect, just completely lionize them for their linguistic prowess,” he said.

Regardless of their experience, all writers are more than welcome to read their creative work at the slam. The event also gives any attendees an in-depth opportunity to learn more about the lesser-known English clubs.

“We are trying to get English enthusiasts to come out and meet, and we are providing a form of networking and entertainment that is both English-major and non-English-major friendly,” said Jawhari. “It breaks away from the ‘quiet’ and steps into the ‘cool.’”

Jawhari also believes this event will be more popular than last semester’s. “I hope I’m right because I bought a lot of food. But hey, if no one shows up, we’re all starving artists,” she joked.

Despite the lack of English enthusiasm on campus, many non-English majors are very accomplished writers. “I think that Case students are more creative than they give themselves credit for. With so many people in engineering and hard science majors on campus, we often think of ourselves as really left-brain oriented,” said Bell.

“Some of the best poetry that we had at the last event was from engineering students and a bunch of people in the audience were engineers too,” he continued. “People should come and have fun because listening to people speak from the bottom of their hearts is an experience that anyone can enjoy.”

Jawhari wants to see this relatively new tradition in the CWRU English Department continue to grow. “I’m willing to bet there are non-English major artists waiting for the chance to express themselves amid the fervent English enthusiasts. On Spring Slam Nite, the floor is theirs,” said Jawhari.

The event runs from 6-9 pm in Guilford lounge.

Madden urges anyone interested to attend. “It’s honestly a great time to get out and do something different. How many poetry slams can someone honestly say they’ve been to? Their answer should always be ‘not enough.’”